Please Don't Delay"
by St. Bernard
This brief passage by St. Bernard is one of the most famous written by this Doctor of the Church. This passage demonstrates the Catholic teaching that God truly left Mary free to believe and to accept God's invitation to be His Mother. All of humanity owes Mary a very great debt of gratitude because without Her cooperation, Jesus would not have become Man and Saved us by His Passion and Death. This teaching of St. Bernard has a special meaning today for us as we will see by the brief reflection at the end of this extract from his voluminous writings. This text is addressed to the Blessed Virgin by St. Bernard, before She gave Her decision to St. Gabriel the Archangel's invitation to become the Mother of God.
"We also, O Lady, we also await from Your lips the sentence of mercy and compassion, we who are so miserably groaning under the sentence of condemnation. For lo! the price of our salvation is now offered to You: If You will but consent we shall at once be set at liberty. We have been created by the Eternal Word of the Father, and behold we die: by Your momentary word we must be renewed and restored to life. O Virgin most loving, Adam, now exiled from paradise with all his unhappy offspring, implores this favor of You. For this does Abraham entreat You, for this David, for this all the other holy fathers, Your own ancestors, who are now dwelling in this region of the shadow of death. See, the whole world prostrate at Your feet awaits Your answer. And not without cause. For on Your word depend the consolation of the miserable, the redemption of captives, the salvation of all the children of Adam, of the entire human race. Therefore, O Virgin, delay not to answer. Speak the word, O Lady, speak the word which all on earth, and all in limbo, yea, and even all in paradise are waiting to hear. Christ the Word Himself, the King and Lord of all, longs for Your answer with a longing equal to the ardour wherewith He 'hath desired Thy beauty' (Ps. 44:12), because it is by means of Your consent that He has decreed to save the world. Hitherto You have pleased Him by Your silence, but now Your speech shall give Him more pleasure. For behold He calls to You from Heaven saying: 'O fairest among women, let Thy voice sound in My ears' (Cant. 2:14).
"If, then, You will give Him to hear Your voice, He will give You to see our salvation. And is it not for this You have been supplicating and sighing and pouring out prayers with tears by day and by night? What then? Are You She to whom this has been promised ‘or look we for another' (Matt. 11:3)? Nay, You Yourself are She and there is none other. You, I say, are She who has been promised, who has been expected, who has been yearned for, through whom the holy patriarch Jacob hoped to receive eternal life, when being about to die he exclaimed, 'I will look for Your salvation, O Lord' (Gen. 49:18). You are She in whom and by whom 'God our King before the ages has decreed to work salvation in the midst of the earth' (Ps. 73:12). Wherefore do You expect to receive through another what is now offered to Yourself? Why do You hope to receive through another that which through You shall be soon given to us all, provided only You will consent and say the word? Make haste, therefore, to answer the angel, or rather to answer the Lord through the angel. Say the word and receive the Word. Utter Your human word and conceive the Word Divine. Pronounce the transitory word and embrace the Eternal Word. Why do You hesitate, O Lady? Wherefore do You fear? Believe, consent, and receive into Your womb the Word of the Father. Let Your humility take courage, let Your modesty be confident. It is nowise expedient now that your virginal simplicity should be forgetful of prudence. O Virgin most prudent, in this matter alone You may put aside all fear of presumption, because, although modesty pleases by its silence, more necessary for us now is the charity of speech. O happy Virgin, open Your heart to faith, open Your lips to consent, open Your bosom to admit your Creator. Behold the Desired of all nations is standing outside even now and knocking at Your door. Oh, if He should pass on while You delay to open, and You should be obliged to begin once more to seek with sorrow 'Him Whom Thy soul loveth' (Cant. 3:1)! Arise, then, and make haste to open to Him. Arise by faith, make haste by devotion, open by consent."
We can hear now the Blessed Virgin Mary: "And now My children, why do you wait? It is 68 years since I asked you at Fatima to respond to My call for the Rosary and amendment of life. And you, My special sons the Bishops, it is 56 years since I said to you, 'IT IS NOW THE MOMENT TO CONSECRATE RUSSIA'."
TO THE BISHOPS we implore with the same words that St. Bernard used above, "We also await from your lips the sentence of Mercy and Compassion, we who are so miserably groaning under the sentence of condemnation." (OF ENSLAVEMENT AND ANNIHILATION) "If you will but consent we shall at once be set at liberty." "See, the whole world prostrate at your feet awaits your answer." "Therefore, delay not to answer." "Why do you expect to receive through" others "what is now offered to" yourselves? "Make haste, therefore, to answer." "WHY DO YOU HESITATE?" "WHY DO YOU FEAR?"