On the Kiss

Bernard of Clairvaux: Second Sermon on the Song of Songs

(Sermon series delivered between 1135 and 1153)


Evans, G.R., tr., Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works (HarperCollins Spiritual Classics). New York: Paulist Press, 1987. Pp. 216ff.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. [SoS 1:2]

E. M. Lilien: Lied der Lieder
E. M. Lilien: Lied der Lieder

I do not presume to think that I shall be kissed by his mouth. That is the unique felicity and singular prerogative of the humanity he assumed. But, more humbly, I ask to be kissed by the kiss of his mouth, which is shared by many, those who can say, “Indeed from his fullness we have all received”. [John 1:16]

Listen carefully here. The mouth which kisses signifies the Word who assumes human nature; the flesh which is assumed is the recipient of the kiss; the kiss, which is both giver and receiver, is the Person which is of both, the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus [1 Tim. 2:5].

For this reason, none of the saints presumed to say, “Let him kiss me with his mouth,” but “with the kiss of his mouth,” thus acknowledging that prerogative of him on whom uniquely once and for all the Mouth of the word was pressed, when the whole fullness of the divinity gave itself to him in the body [Col. 2:9].

O happy kiss, and wonder of amazing self-humbling which is not a mere meeting of lips, but the union of God with man. The touching of lips signifies the bringing together of souls. But this conjoining of natures unites the human with the divine and makes peace between earth and heaven. For he himself is our peace, who made the two one [Eph. 2:14].


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