Embracing the elusive virtues

When you also have found Christ, when you have found wisdom, when you have found justice, holiness and redemption (for Christ became all these for us), when you have found all these, hold them by affection and by attention. What you have found by understanding, hold by diligence and keep hold, if I may so express it, of the elusive virtues. Clasp their slippery forms to you in a tighter embrace until, reversing their roles, they cling to you, embrace you willingly, hold you fast without the labor of your own initiative, and permit you neither to depart very far nor to be away very long. Even if at times you should turn aside to meet the claims of human need, there let them pursue you, recall you, and clutch you to themselves, so that if they cannot always have your uninterrupted attention, they may always have your dedicated affection.


Gilbert of Hoyland

Sermon 9.2 from Sermons on the Song of Songs. Translated by Lawrence C. Braceland and excerpted in In the School of Love: An Anthology of Early Cistercian Texts, Edith Scholl, ed., p.156.

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