I frequently stand in awe of people who, like Pope Benedict, can draw my attention to the essentials of faith, reason and culture. His audience on Wednesday where he speaks about St. Bernard is one of these instances because he shows me the beauty of St. Bernard, the purpose of theology study, life with the saints, and why we have to suffer some things for the Kingdom. For example, the Pope offers a corrective in my work as a seminarian.
Here are a few germane sentences with emphasis added: In one place in the talk Pope says: "Faith is above all an individual and intimate encounter with Jesus; it means experiencing His closeness, His friendship and His love." He continues "St. Bernard, solidly based on the Bible and on the Fathers of the Church, reminds us that without a profound faith in God, nourished by prayer and contemplation, by a profound relationship with the Lord, our reflections on the divine mysteries risk becoming a futile intellectual exercise, and lose their credibility. Theology takes us back to the "science of the saints," to their intuitions of the mysteries of the living God, to their wisdom, gift of the Holy Spirit, which become the point of reference for theological thought."
And given that I think there's much discussion in a seminary work, sometimes too much discussion, I am leaning St. Bernard as he says, "but perhaps He can be sought better and found more easily with prayer than with discussion. We put an end here to the book, but not to the search."
(Pope Benedict XVI, Wednesday General Audience, October 21, 2009)