• August 20th - St. Bernard of Clairvaux

    From rich@1:15/0 to All on Sat Aug 19 10:03:46 2017
    From: rich <richarra@gmail.com>

    August 20th - St. Bernard of Clairvaux

    It has been said of St. Bernard of Clairvaux that he =E2=80=9Ccarried the 1= 2th
    century on his shoulders.=E2=80=9D That suggests the importance of this mon=
    whose talents made him a natural leader in his generation.

    Bernard (pronounced BERnard, not BerNARD) was one of the many children
    of the Burgundian nobleman Tescelin Sorrel and his wife Aleth. This
    was a remarkable family. They learned piety, particularly from their
    mother. Bernard was personally very attractive, witty, friendly and sweet-tempered, and charmed everybody. These traits could have been
    perilous, of course. Fortunately, they were counterbalanced by a
    strong spirituality. He felt an early call to the religious life. For
    a while he fought it; then he gave in. At the age of 22, he decided to
    become a monk in a new and strict community of Benedictine monks
    called the =E2=80=9CCistercians=E2=80=9D. It was typical of the leadership = qualities
    of Bernard that he should not have entered alone, but brought 31 other
    men whom he had talked into becoming monks with him! Among the 31 were
    four of his brothers and an uncle.

    Bernard made such a contribution to the monastery of Citeaux that he
    is deservedly called that order's =E2=80=9Csecond founder=E2=80=9D.=
    After he had been
    a monk for only three years, St. Stephen Harding, the abbot of
    Citeaux, sent him forth to found a new monastery at a place they came
    to call Clairvaux. Among the candidates that St. Bernard welcomed at
    Clairvaux were his own father, Tescelin, and his youngest brother,
    Nivard. (Today three of Bernard's brothers and his sister are
    venerated as =E2=80=9Cblessed=E2=80=9D: Guy, Gerard, Nivard, and Humbeline.=

    St. Bernard's obvious talents, his notable spirituality and his gif=
    of miracles, made it inevitable that he would be called on to help the
    wider church. Not only was his influence great in the reformation of
    the monastic life and of the secular clergy; he became =E2=80=9Cthe oracle =
    Christendom=E2=80=9D: a man to whom princes and prelates and popes looked f=
    advice and aid.

    In 1130, two factions elected different persons as pope. Bernard
    examined the claims of the candidates and decided in favor of Innocent
    II. He preached on Innocent's behalf in Germany, France and Italy.
    Thanks to his eloquence, Innocent was accepted, thus thwarting a
    tragic schism in the Church.

    Bernard was also a brilliant theologian. In his day, two theologians
    had begun to teach erroneous doctrines: Abelard and Gilbert de la
    Porree. As a result of Abbot Bernard's efforts, their errors were
    condemned. He was also delegated to preach against the errors of the Aibigensians of southern France and northern Italy. They taught
    Manicheism, an ancient heresy that among other things condemned
    marriage. Bernard had some success in this battle, but the
    Albigensians would not be finally conquered for another century.

    Then there was the second crusade. The first crusade, in the 11th
    century, had wrested the Holy Land from the control of antagonistic
    Muslims and once more given pilgrims access to the holy places: But
    the Muslims had begun to recover the territory by 1144. In 1146 Pope
    Eugenius III (once a monk of St. Bernard's) asked the saint to prea=
    a second crusade. Bernard threw all his energy into the cause. But the
    crusade failed to achieve its aims, and its preacher suffered not only disappointment but much undeserved blame.

    Despite the many missions on which he had spent, Bernard continued to
    write and preach on theological and spiritual matters. He was not only
    a great writer (he has been called =E2=80=9Cthe last of the Fathers of the Church.=E2=80=9D), but his eloquent spiritual teachings influenced the spirituality of later generations. Several popular hymns have been
    incorrectly attributed to him: for instance, the =E2=80=9CHail, Holy Queen= =E2=80=9D,
    and =E2=80=9CJesus, the very thought of Thee=E2=80=9D. But it is clear that=
    they are
    based on some of his writings, which merited for him the title =E2=80=9CDoc= tor
    Mellifluus=E2=80=9D, =E2=80=9CHoney-sweet Teacher=E2=80=9D.

    Bernard died on August 20, 1153. He had founded 68 monasteries of
    Cistercians in many countries. He has always meant much to the diocese
    of Rochester. Our first bishop was Bernard McQuaid. The saint was
    patron of our former St. Bernard's Seminary, and of its present
    successor, St. Bernard's Institute. And the Trappist Cistercians at
    Piffard also carry on in his tradition of loving and prayerful service
    of God. Both man of God and genius, Bernard of Clairvaux was one of
    our greatest saints.

    Saint Quote:
    In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary.
    Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your
    heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect
    not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go
    astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she
    is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your
    hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear;
    if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you
    favor, you shall reach the goal.
    St. Bernard

    Bible Quote:
    But the Lord said to Samuel, =E2=80=9CDo not look on his appearance or on = the
    height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees
    not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord
    looks on the heart. [1 Samuel 16:7] RSVCE


    People whose inner vision has been cleansed by the exercise of
    charity toward their neighbor can delight in the contemplation of
    truth in itself, for it is love of truth which makes them take upon
    themselves the misfortunes of others. But can people find the truth in
    their neighbor if they refuse to support their brothers and sisters
    in this way--if on the contrary they either scoff at their tears or
    disparage their joys, being insensitive to all feelings but their own?
    There is a popular saying which well suits them: A healthy person
    cannot feel the pains of sickness, nor can one who is well-fed feel
    the pangs of hunger. The more familiar we are with sickness or hunger,
    the greater will be our compassion for others who are sick or hungry.
    Just as pure truth can only be seen by the pure in heart, so the
    sufferings of our fellow men and women are more truly felt by hearts
    that know suffering themselves.
    --St. Bernard of Clairvaux
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