Christmas: the Mystery of God’s Tenderness

Notes from a talk by Luigi Giussani at a retreat of the Memores Domini, Pianazze, Italy, January 6, 1974.

Luigi Giussani

I would like to take up once again the two themes suggested by the liturgy yesterday evening.1 I would like us to pray the Lord to give us the grace to grasp these words vitally, because they are truly the terms of the new life, of the new reality, of the new man, that we can already experience.

1. The certainty of life is Someone who has
already happened to us

Yesterday evening, we were speaking of certainty as the consistence of what we are, as the consistency of our person, of our time, as our identity. Let us make this premise, let’s reflect on this antecedent, in which the mercy of God takes its place. Normally, we look for this consistency, this identity in what we ourselves do, or in what we are, which is the same. Thus, our life never has that feeling, that experience of full certainty, which the word “peace” indicates, that certainty and that fullness–to use a hendiadys–that full certainty, that certainty and that fullness without which there is no peace and thus no gladness and no joy. At the most, we are gratified by what we do, or pleased with ourselves. And these fragments of gratification in what we do or in what we are bring no delight and no joy, no sense of secure fullness, no certainty and no fullness.
Given this premise, this picture of our natural attitude, how can we understand more–if the Spirit will enlighten us and support our heart–the affirmation that the certainty in our life is something that has happened to us? The certainty is something that has happened to us, entered into us, has been encountered by us; certainty as something that has happened to us. Our identity, the consistency of our persons, the certainty of time coincides–literally–with this something that has happened to us. Speaking of his sick daughter, Emmanuel Mounier, after saying, “Something has happened to us,” corrected himself and said, “Someone has happened to us.”2
The word “encounter” is still rather exterior; it reflects that external and contingent way in which the event presented itself, but it does not represent the content, it does not indicate the content of the event itself. Someone has happened to us, has given Himself to us, so much so as to insert Himself into our flesh and blood, and into our soul. “I live, not I, but it is this Someone who lives in me.”3
However, what we want to focus our attention on is the certainty, that aspect of certainty that surprised the shepherds, as they found themselves looking at what had been announced to them by the angels, seeing it there: the certainty, the certainty of life in what has happened to us, certainty as something that has taken place, something that has happened to us.
From the point of view of the certainty that comes into our life, of the fact that it is an Other who enters into our life, the words “vocation” and “identification” perhaps say rather less than the word “choice.” Even more than “identification” or even “vocation” (which would be undoubtedly the most adequate word, provided it were totally divested of vagueness, abstractness, sentimentality and the vanity of sound that it reflects in our ears), the most appropriate is precisely the word “choice,” the words “being touched” and “elected;” “sealed”–“I have put my seal on you.”4 Moreover, “seal” is the word used for the fundamental sacraments, those that constitute the Christian being; the seal that gives the character of Baptism and Confirmation, which means a change in our being. This change in our being is the presence of an Other.
We have to identify ourselves. How important is an open heart, simplicity of heart and poverty of heart, for grasping these moments, for being able to identify ourselves! If we are not poor in spirit, we identify ourselves with nothing, because identifying oneself means abandoning your actual position. We have to identify ourselves with Mary in the first chapter of St. Luke, with the shepherds in the second chapter of St. Luke, and with the Magi in the second chapter of St. Matthew. Quite rightly, the Mass readings today offer us the third chapter of the Letter to the Ephesians,5 a part of those three fantastic chapters in which the content of what happened is retold, of the choice and the vocation that has been given us. Virginity is the perfection of the vocation that constituted Christ’s coming into the life of man.
So, as we read these passages, as we re-read these passages of the Gospel, we must stop (asking the Spirit for the grace to be able to do it) in an experience of identification with the reality of Mary, of the shepherds, of the Magi: they are “taken hold of,” their identity is in what is happening or, better, in what happened. Their identity is in what happened. It is the plan of which the Letter to the Ephesians speaks. “This Mystery, kept hidden from men of previous generations, has been revealed in the present to his holy apostles and prophets through the Spirit: that we are all called to form the same single body.”6
The word “predilection,” in its etymological sense, means being loved before we realize it, being loved before any reply of ours, that being loved that posits an irreversible fact, that being loved which defines our value in the world–being loved, that is to say, being part of His plan, being His plan. How different from the natural experience at which we all too often stop. The natural experience is only like the prophecy, the premise, the introduction, that which disposes our soul to understand the density and the depth with which the Lord has given Himself to me, to the point of becoming what constitutes me! How different is the relationship of what happened with Mary, with the shepherds, with the Magi, from the bond that natural experience makes us feel with the Mystery that creates us!
St. Bernard said, “In the first place, man loves himself for himself [instinctive immediacy] and understands nothing but himself, other than himself; but when he begins to understand that by himself he cannot manage to exist, then he begins, through inquiry and faith, to love God as something necessary to him.”7 The bond with the Mystery at the level of natural experience is still an action of ours, as we said before, something that begins from us; and at most we can be gratified with these observations, but they cannot give us certainty, fullness and peace.
Even with this intuition, man remains petty, because pettiness is the characteristic of man when conceived as being self-consistent. Pettiness is shortness of measure, so much so that this natural religiosity makes claims on God, complains about God, and tends to make God in its own image and likeness, even though, in its purest moments, its most authentic moments, it senses fragmentarily with a certain purity what God is for man. As Tagore says, “Your centuries follow each other in order to make a small wildflower perfect.”8 Because it takes all the evolution of centuries and millennia to attain the physiognomy of a small wildflower. And thus, as if by a fleeting fragment, reality is sensed as God’s plan.
But now let’s “become” one of the shepherds. How much more concrete, intrusive, and imposing! This is like someone trying to reason while he is wolfing down a good meal, or like someone trying to reason while he is kissing his girl; if you reason while you are kissing someone, it means that either you don’t love the person or that the love is so deep that it calls you to mortification, on a journey already decided.
The relationship of the natural man with the Mystery, with God is not vague or generic but something totally new. The closest thing we can compare it with is suddenly meeting a person you love, a person you are sure of, who offers you solid help in a moment of bewilderment, of darkness, of destruction or collapse.
But the point is not even the usefulness of the relationship that these comparisons evoke. What matters is the reaction that Mary’s heart must have felt in that moment, must have felt every time she became aware of what had happened, of what she had in her (because she became continually more aware, as the Gospel tells us more than once; she pondered in her heart what had happened);9 or what the shepherds felt; or what the Magi felt as they traveled toward Judea in the awareness of what had been announced to them. It is with the attitude of these people, it is with this that we have to identify. Even though the announcement had been made to their reality as shepherds who, through the simple reading of the prophets, were hoping for something; even though Our Lady lived of this meditation; even though the Magi lived of this expectation, what happened appeared to them as something that burned away even the awareness of expectation, which at first was not an answer to their expectation, but was an intrusive presence.
It is what St. Bernard calls the fourth degree of the love of God. What I read before was the first degree: that man, loving himself and realizing that he does not subsist on his own, begins to seek God and love God. But this is the work of man. What I tried to indicate just now is different. It is this attitude of Mary, this lightning flash, this impression (certainly, it is only the experience of your own life that can suggest the comparisons that make you understand these evocations or, much more simply, it is the suggestion of the Spirit), this attitude of Mary, of the shepherds and the Magi, for whom what happened dominated their eyes and heart, dominated their self-awareness. Before the child, this child, was themselves, was their identity, their certainty, their fullness, and they no longer remembered what had been before. Before that child, they no longer remembered even their own aspirations, they were no longer even able to reason over those aspirations, because now that child dictated everything.
Certainly, if the shepherds, or Our Lady, or the Magi had gone home to their desk to prepare their religion lessons to teach the following day, they would have reflected and said, “Now, this child answers to all the feelings we had before and the feelings you, my students, have, too.” But this is only a reflex, a contingent, non-essential moment, that becomes essential in another moment, becomes essential only in the mission. The mission is, as it were, the identification with others of this identification with Christ; it is the identification with men of this identification with Christ that I am.
In describing the fourth degree of the love of God, St. Bernard says that man “loves himself only for God.”10 For us, this for is frail and trembling, like tissue paper, while here they are huge poles, they are pillars. “He loves himself only for God,” is the same as what we said before, when we said that what happened is my identity; so, if I love what has happened, then I love myself because what has happened is my identity.

2. Tenderness: God identifies
Himself with our flesh

Here, then, is a consequence, which is like the second step in this first word, the certainty that the liturgy speaks to us during these days; certainty and fullness of ourselves not in what we do–which achieves only a short-lived gratification–but certainty and fullness in what has happened to us, that brings us gladness and joy.
The second step, what lies at the root of this gladness and joy, is the word “tenderness,” because Christmas is the mystery of tenderness, God’s tenderness to me. It is a tenderness that is not gratification in the feeling we have for God or for Christ, because gratification in the feeling I have is still what I said at the start, that is to say, gratification in what we do ourselves. Tenderness is not gratification in the feelings we have, but abandonment, feeling oneself taken over by the love that has taken hold of us, by Him who has taken hold of us, feeling ourselves taken hold of by this Presence, feeling ourselves taken hold of by what has happened, the presence of what has happened.
It is like when a child opens his eyes wide and is all filled up with what he sees and has no room to give to the feeling he has, or the awareness of a feeling he has; before what he sees, he is all filled up with what he sees. “Se diligit homo tantum propter Deum,”11 man loves himself only for this that is before him, in Christ, in this that he has before him, in this event.
But what I want you to focus your attention on is the word “tenderness,” because this identification, this God, this Word, this Mystery, who identifies Himself with our flesh, this incarnate Word, this divine flesh, this Man who identifies Himself with us, with me, is a tenderness a million times greater, more acute, more penetrating than a man’s embrace for his woman, or the embrace of a brother.
We do not understand these things by reasoning, but by looking at the words that synthetically indicate the experience we want to evoke; and so it needs more than one word. We have to look at this word–tenderness–within the awareness of this identification between me and You or, better, between You and me, within the awareness of this event that has taken its place in me, of this “You who are me.”
Here, too, the religious instinct, urged by the Christian terms in which it was born, made Dostoevsky feel many correct things. In The Brothers Karamazov, he has the young monk say this: “In his ardent prayer, Alexei did not ask God to clarify his disquiet [he was in a moment of temptation], but longed only for that joyous tenderness, that tenderness that had never failed to visit his soul after the praise and exaltation of God, which was usually the content of his prayer before going to sleep. This joy, which usually visited him thus, brought after it a light, tranquil sleep.”12
It is true that the characteristic of all true intuitions, without that balance that is only in the experience of the Church–the true Church of Christ, the Church of Rome, the Catholic Church–is always an excess, something unilateral, an exaggeration, as if, in order to exist, that joy must always bring after it a “light and tranquil sleep” or that this tenderness be necessarily a particular sensitivity after the “praise and exaltation of God.” But while there is the possibility of an exaggeration, of an “overflow” (like when milk boils over in the pan), the observation is essentially correct, and I hope each one of us can vouch for it. “In his ardent prayer, Alexei did not ask God to clarify his disquiet, but longed only for that joyous tenderness, that tenderness that had never failed to visit his soul after the praise and exaltation of God.”
This tenderness is indicated in a more consistent and concrete way, more “actively” in the last words of St. Clare to her soul in the moment of death. “Go in peace, because you will have a good companion, since He who created you, destined you for holiness, and when He had created you, He infused the Holy Spirit in you; and then He looked at you as a mother looks at her little child.”13
These words collapse immediately if they remain outside what we said, if in some way they cease to be or are no longer clearly what they are–that is to say, the sign of what has happened–because our certainty and our fullness, our identity and our consistency is something that has happened. It is Someone who has happened to us and told us, “Come with Me, come and follow Me,” as in the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel, from verse 35 to the end, identifying Himself with John and Andrew, with Simon son of John, with Philip and Nathaniel. Do you realize that, in that moment of the Gospel we read yesterday evening, what Nathaniel had before him was so intrusive that it took away all the attention he had for himself, exactly like a child who has his eyes filled up by what he sees?

3. Inclusiveness and freedom
from the slavery of sin
There are two corollaries to this consequence of the certainty that is tenderness. “Tenderness”: being wanted, being looked on and chosen; hearing what Zacchaeus heard, “I am coming to your house;”14 hearing what the good thief heard, “You will be with Me forever;”15 “and then He looked at you…”
The first corollary is the inclusiveness of this tenderness. This tenderness has its summit, its ideal of purity, not in excluding people and things, but in including people and things. In his The Mystical Theology of St. Bernard, with commentary by Hayen, Etienne Gilson summarizes thus St. Bernard’s thought on this: “It is not aridity [that is, cutting away] and lethargy that purify love, but ardor,” and Hayen comments, “…but this purity is essentially inclusive (…); God’s love is not perfect unless it includes all that the same creative love of the Father includes.”16 What purifies the tenderness, what purifies the love for Christ is not aridity or lethargy, but the ardor that includes, that tends to include all that the Father has created, as the Father has created it.
“It is not aridity and lethargy that purify love, but ardor”–an ardor not forced, not determined by things and people, but by the Presence. The inclusiveness of this love, of this ardor, means that even ardor towards things and people is exalted. But the pure exaltation of things and people is a consequence of the certainty and the fullness that one lives; it is a consequence of that tenderness that is unique: the sure, full tenderness, made of certainty and fullness, which is that which has as its object Mary’s fiat or the immediate credit given by the shepherds or their admiration, or the admiration of the Magi, or the admiration of John, Andrew, Simon, Philip and Nathaniel.
“To be pure means to be pure of any impediment,”17 says Hayen again. That is to say, that things and people are loved in such a way as not to be an impediment. And if they are not to be an impediment, then they are not to be loved for a motive outside this thing I have in me. If they are not to be an impediment, then they have to be grasped from within this tenderness. It is analogous, in this case, to what we said at the beginning, to that phrase of St. Bernard we quoted: that man, seeing that he cannot subsist on his own, seeks God. Even the reasoning is analogous, the observation that we can make at this point, because there is no tenderness that can subsist, that can dominate time, and therefore neither certainty nor fullness. What exalts love for things and people is precisely this certainty and this fullness that is “You who are me.” “To be pure means to be pure of any impediment, free from every limiting principle that might coerce the fullness of being.” What is the fullness of being? The awareness of what has happened to me, the awareness of Your Presence, You.
The second corollary of tenderness is that sin, our sin, no longer becomes decisive, it no longer keeps us slaves.
I want to read you two more passages from Dostoevsky. Keep in mind that observation about “overflowing,” like milk that boils over in the pan. They are very precious passages, if they are read within the clear and sure eye of Christian experience, of Catholic experience, of our experience. How great God is, who makes us understand ourselves through what others have discovered! “Love each other [it is the starets Zosima talking to his monks], fathers, love the creatures of God. We are not holier than the laypeople for the fact that we have come here to close ourselves within these four walls; rather, each one who has come here, for the very fact that he has come here, has acknowledged himself to be worse than all the laypeople and anyone else on earth, and the longer a monk stays here within these walls, the more readily he must acknowledge this, since otherwise there would be no reason for him to have come here. When instead he acknowledges that he is not only worse than all the laypeople, but that he is guilty before all men for each and every human sin, collective and individual, only then will the aim of this life of ours be reached [Christ on the cross: ‘For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin,’18 St. Paul says]. Know this, my beloved, that every cenobite like us answers for the faults of each and everyone on earth, not only for the generic fault of the world, but each one personally, for all men and for every man living on earth. This awareness is the crown of religious life, as it is for any man on earth, because religious are not men different from the others, but exactly what all men on earth should be. Only then will our heart be able to open up to an infinite, universal, and insatiable love. Then each one of us will have the strength to conquer the whole world with love, and through his own tears wash away the sins of the world.”19 This is perfect from any point of view (remember Emmanuel Mounier speaking of his sick daughter). And it is no pretence when he says, “We have come here because we have acknowledged that we are the worst among men”!
Here is the second passage: “Why should people have pity on me? You say. Why? It is true, there is no reason to have pity on me, they should crucify me, not pity me. Okay, crucify me, judge me, but pity me as you crucify me. Then I will willingly go to my execution, because I have no thirst for joy, but for sorrow and weeping… But he who had pity on me, he who has pity on all men, he who understood everything will certainly have pity on us. He is the only judge who exists. He will come on the last day and will ask, ‘Where is the daughter who sacrificed herself for a resentful and consumptive stepmother and for the children who are not her brothers? Where is the daughter who had pity on her earthly father and did not drive that shameful drunkard away in horror?’ And He will say, ‘Come, I have already forgiven you once, and again I forgive you all your sins, because you loved much.’ So He will forgive his Sonia, He will forgive her, I know. Just now I felt it here in my heart, while I was with her. Everyone will be judged by Him and He will forgive them all, the good and the bad, the wise and the meek. And when He has finished forgiving the others, He will forgive us, too. ‘Come close, you, too,’ He will say, ‘Come, drunkards, come you depraved, you lustful people,’ and we will go up to Him, all of us, without fear, and He will tell us, ‘You are pigs, you are just like animals, but come, all the same.’ And the wise, the intelligent will say, ‘Lord, why do you welcome these?’ And He will reply, ‘I welcome them, you wise, I welcome them, you intelligent, because none of them believed himself worthy of this favor,’ and He will open wide His arms and we will fall on His breast and will weep bitterly and we will understand everything. Then everyone will understand everything and even Katerina Ivanovna will understand, even she. Your Kingdom come, O Lord!”20
I read this passage for this final phrase, “… and He will open wide His arms and we will fall on His breast and will weep bitterly and we will understand everything.” This is true within the mystery of God’s justice, but it is true as aspiration, true because it is suggested by God’s mercy; and for those like us who are called in the bosom of the Church, for those who have a genuine Christian vocation like us, for those like us who have a vocation to virginity, it happens in this world, it begins to happen in this world; He opens His arms to us in this world. Dostoevsky did not have the awareness of the event that we have, he did not have the awareness that his identity was the Fact that had happened to him. He felt its effect and, rightly, its good effect; He had only the attitude that the remembrance of Christ instills. For us this “end of the world” is conceived and foreseen as the event that has already happened.
So you understand what St. John said in his first letter: “We purify ourselves as He is pure.”21 Why, in this moment described in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, in this end of the world conceived in this way, is it impossible to love sin, is it impossible to plan sin, is it impossible to want to keep sin!? This event, the event of this forgiveness, is continuous. This is why non-slavery to sin implies the fact that our wrongdoing never subdues us to the point of becoming a plan for us, something that binds us. The event of this forgiveness is continuous, so continuous that it makes us ask with all our heart, desire with all our heart that God deliver us even from temptation, as the Our Father says. What is evil is still evil, and it is only in this context that we understand it. Why will we “fall on His breast and weep bitterly and will understand everything”? Why should we weep bitterly? Because we will understand what evil is and what sin is. And we will understand at once what evil is and what sin is, because, as that genius of the Spirit, St. Bernard, says, “unde anima dissimilis Deo, unde dissimilis et sibi”22–where the soul becomes unlike Christ, it becomes unlike itself; in other words, there is no opposition between love for God and love for self, because our identity is Christ, the event that has happened to us. For it is precisely sin, it is precisely our wrongdoing that interferes with our certainty, with our fullness, like a bomb exploding. But as soon as the smoke of the blast clears, His Presence is there, the tenderness is there still. This is what frees us and what, as time passes, assimilates to itself even the vibrations of our flesh and of our spirit, so that, slowly or all at once, according to what the Father has planned, the very birth, the very formation of the vibration of our spirit and our flesh are assimilated to Him and become conformed to His Spirit.

4. Life becomes mission
Let us conclude this meditation on the certainty, on the fullness of our being, by renewing the experience that the word “joy” arouses in our memory. Our joy is in the Other. We don’t hope for it from what we have, from what we will have; from what we do or will do. Our joy is in His Presence and in the wonders He works, mirabilia Dei, in His wonders He works on us and amongst us. “Seek every day the faces of the saints and draw comfort from them.”23 Our joy is in the wonders He works on us and amongst us. Go and read Chapters 60-62 of the Book of Isaiah. The accents of joy with which he foresees the future will make our hearts leap, too, and will find much that corresponds in our experience.
The descriptive form of these chapters of Isaiah–which refer to the joy, a joy that is the joy of Jerusalem, to which the whole world now looks–introduces us to the second keyword that the liturgy gave us yesterday evening when we asked, “Why did He appear to the Magi?” It is no mere chance that, in the history of the Church, the Epiphany has always been the missionary feast par excellence; and it is no mere chance that Christmas was identified with the Epiphany, that is, the first manifestation of God born amongst us, of the God-Man to the world.
Christ’s life was not His own, it was for the mission. Mary’s life was not her own, but for the mission. That life of the shepherds that, before they saw Him, before they received the announcement, was theirs, was no longer theirs, but was mission, even had they stayed home with their wives and children and their flocks. What was their message in their surroundings, the message in the village where they lived, the message they handed on, that they told themselves and others? That life, that for the Magi was theirs until that moment, never again became their own.
Think how well we can now understand the passage from St. John that we read yesterday, the passage that speaks all about love for the brothers. “Do not be afraid if the world hates you,”24 the world must hate you–hatred understood primarily as total extraneousness, because true hatred is extraneousness. Let’s try to put ourselves in the place of all those people around Mary, of all those people around the Magi and the shepherds. What did they think of them? Mad, out of their minds. They felt them as being in another world, an unreal world, a fantastic, empty world.
In the same way, our life is no longer our own; our life is mission; our life is communicating what has happened to us, making our presence communion, making the presence of those we meet communion, renewing the miracle of His Presence, renewing His event, renewing with others the event that He has brought about with us–with others, with things, with everything.
How suggestive and tremendous at the same time to realize–as we so seldom do, because we have an instinctive fear, whereas it is the power of identification of which I am speaking that gives us in abundance the clear perception of the new face that is in us–how, the more we live these things, the more we try to live these things, the more others feel us to be strangers–everyone else, almost everyone else. I am speaking also of people in the Movement, of almost all the people in the Movement, for whom the Movement continues to be (and Christianity continues to be) initiatives or discourses, or a nice feeling of neighborliness, of companionship, of fraternity or of help, but not a new event. They have not yet been seen “opening their arms to fall on His breast and weeping bitterly and understanding everything.” This is why they don’t feel, “Your kingdom come!” as the supreme expression of their person, of themselves, like that “delinquent” Sonia: “Your kingdom come, O Lord!” This is the entreaty that burns up all the chaff and straw from the root, leaving only the gold of our person; all the chaff and the straw of our desires as our own, of our plans as our own.
So, what has happened to us is so that our life be mission, mission in the flesh, mission in our flesh. Note that there is no separation between the lathe and the hands that operate it; there is no separation between the typewriter and our heart and our face, because it is all human flesh!
Mission, therefore, means making present that which made itself a Presence for us, where we are, wherever we are. If someone goes to work without crying out from his heart, “Your kingdom come,” forcing himself to repeat it; if someone goes to university or to school without saying, “Your kingdom come,” then he is not living the mission. And how can we say, “Your kingdom come,” while behaving with such indifference as we do towards others, towards our companions who are there? How can we say, “Your kingdom come,” without trying to hand on to them what has happened to us, incarnating it in their needs and mentality, inside their initiatives and their problems? How can we live in our house, where it is, without saying, “Your kingdom come,” “Your kingdom come here”? This does not necessarily mean inviting all the people living on your block to your conferences. I am not speaking of this, but I am speaking of something that is identical to this, according to the times and the forms that the occasions require.
This is the missionary vigilance that makes our lives God’s strategy, that identifies our lives with God’s strategy, with God’s plan. Our person is identified with His Presence, certainty and fullness, tenderness, gladness and joy because this is Christmas. I am commenting on Christmas, on the Child Jesus. All this is given us in order that life be mission; that is to say, in order that our life fit into God’s plan, coincide with God’s plan, with God’s strategy.
Note that the alternative is not to leave the Memores Domini or the Movement. You can quite easily stay in the Movement or the Memores without this, but then our Christianity would be merely intellectual (discourses, initiatives, great or small, collecting money for the cooperatives, producing flyers or organizing alternative courses), or sentimental; a merely sentimental attitude. This intellectualism and this sentimentalism are the exact opposite of certainty and tenderness. It is precisely the missionary “coincidence” of the whole of our existence, of our living, of what moves our interior and exterior person, that tests and nourishes the authenticity of our certainty and the possibility of tenderness, of which our life must feel sustained and invested. If that event is my identity, then my whole person must feel invested, invaded, penetrated by this. Certainty and tenderness: it is precisely in the mission that this is tested.

1 Mass readings for January 5th: 1 Jn 3:11-
21; Jn 1:43-51.
2 Cf. E. Mounier, Letters On Pain.
3 Cf. Gal 2:20.
4 Cf. 2 Cor 1:22.
5 Eph 3:2-3,5-6.
6 Cf. Eph 3:5-6.
7 St. Bernard of Clairvaux, De diligendo Deo, XV, 39.
8 R. Tagore Gitanjali, Lyric LXXXII.
9 Cf. Lk 2:19,51.
10 St. Bernard of Clairvaux, De diligendo Deo, X, 27.
11 Cf. ibid.
12 Cf. F. M. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Part One, Book Three, Chapter XI.
13 Proc. III, 20; cf. LegsC 46.
14 Cf. Lk 19:5
15 Cf. Lk 23:43.
16 A. Hayen, San Tommaso d’Aquino e la vita della Chiesa oggi, Vita e Pensiero, Milano, 1967, p. 53n,55.
17 Cf. Ibid, p 53.
18 Cf. 2 Cor 5:21.
19 Cf. F. M. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Part Two, Book Four, Chapter I.
20 Cf. F. M. Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, Part One, Chapter II.
21 Cf. 1 Jn 3:3.
22 St. Bernard of Clairvaux, In Cantica Canticorum, sermo 82, art. 5.
23 The Didaché IV, 2.
24 Cf. 1