Bernard of Clairvaux

ADVENT MEDITATION: In Defense Of Humility by Bernard of Clairvaux

November 28, 2018

From Annunciation Dialogue “Behold,” Mary said, “the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to your word.” The virtue of humility is always found closely associated with divine grace: for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) Mary replies then with humility, that the dwelling of grace may be prepared.  How sublime is this humility, which is incapable of yielding to the weight of honors, or of being rendered proud by them!  The mother of God is chosen, and she declares herself his handmaid. It is in truth a mark of no ordinary humility that even when so great an honor is given her, she does not forget to be humble.  It is no great thing to be humble when in a low condition; but humility in one [...]

PRAYER: Ascension by Bernard of Clairvaux

May 14, 2018

To complete your seamless robe, and so to complete our faith, you ascended through the air into the heavens, before the very eyes of the apostles.  In this way you showed that you are Lord of all, and are the fulfillment of all creation.  Thus from that moment every human and every living creature should bow at your name.  And, in the eyes of faith, we can see that all creation proclaims your greatness. [...]

PRAYER: Easter by Bernard of Clairvaux

April 2, 2018

Lord, you have passed over into new life, and you now invite us to pass over also.  In these past days we have grieved at your suffering and mourned at your death.  We have given ourselves over to repentance and prayer, to abstinence and gravity.  Now at Easter you tell us that we have died to sin.  Yet, if this is true, how can we remain on Earth?  How can we pass over to your risen life, while we are still in this world?  Will we not be just as meddlesome, just as lazy, just as selfish as before?  Will we not still be bad-tempered and stubborn, enmeshed in all the vices of the past?  We pray that as we pass over with you, our faces will never look back.  Instead, let us, like you, make Heaven on Earth. [...]

PRAYER: Lent by Bernard of Clairvaux

March 5, 2018

Let me hold fast to you, beautiful Lord, whom the angels themselves yearn to look upon. Wherever you go, I will follow you. If you pass through fire, I will not flinch, I fear no evil when you are with me. You carry my griefs, because you grieve for my sake. You passed through the narrow doorway from death to life, to make it wide enough for all to follow. Nothing can ever now separate me from your love. [...]

SERMON: On The Advent Of Our Lord And Its Six Circumstances by Bernard of Clairvaux

December 3, 2017

Today we celebrate the beginning of Advent. The name of this great annual commemoration is sufficiently familiar to us; its meaning may not be so well known. When the unhappy children of Eve had abandoned the pursuit of things true and salutary, they gave themselves up to the search for those that are fleeting and perishable. To whom shall we liken the men of this generation, or to what shall we compare them, seeing they are unable to tear themselves from Earthly and carnal consolations, or disentangle their minds from such trammels? They resemble the shipwrecked who are in danger of being overwhelmed by the waters, and who may be seen catching eagerly at whatever they first grasp, how frail whatsoever it may be. And if anyone strive to [...]

SERMON: Mystical Vineyards And The Prudence Of The Flesh by Bernard of Clairvaux

July 9, 2017

“They made me the keeper of the vineyards.” (Song of Solomon 1:6)  Who are they? Do you mean those opponents to whom you recently referred? Listen and understand. Perhaps she is saying that she has been given this charge by the very people who persecuted her. No need to wonder at this if she was attacked for the purpose of correcting her. Everybody knows that lots of people are frequently opposed in a well-intentioned way for their good. Every day we meet with people whose ideals are purified, who advance to perfection through the friendly corrections of their superiors. Therefore let us rather show, if we can, hew her mother’s sons fight against the church with hostile purpose and with a loss that is her gain. This is [...]

MYSTICISM: Bernard Of Clairvaux, by Louis Dupré and James A. Wiseman

July 5, 2017

From Light From Light Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153): Abbot, ecclesiastical statesmen, mediator between warring armies, counselor of popes and kings, champion of orthodoxy, Bernard of Clairvaux was unquestionably the most influential person in Europe in the first half of the twelfth century.  But it is perhaps in the stamp he left on Christian spirituality that his most enduring influence is to be found.  At one point in the history of Western Christianity love became equated with the very essence of the spiritual life, and if we had to assign the beginning of that movement to one person, that person would have to be Bernard.  The passages from his writings below are intended above all to illustrate this centrality of love in his [...]

POETRY: Jesu, Highest Heaven’s Completeness by Bernard of Clairvaux

July 5, 2017

Jesu, highest Heaven’s completeness, Name of music to the ear, To the lips surpassing sweetness, Wine the fainting heart to cheer. Eating Thee, the soul may hunger, Drinking, still athirst may be; But for Earthly food no longer, Nor for any steam but Thee. Jesu, all delight exceeding, Only hope of heart distrest; Weeping eyes and spirit mourning Find in Thee a place of rest. Stay, O Beauty uncreated, Ever ancient, ever new; Banish deeds of darkness hated, With Thy sweetness all bedew. Jesu, fairest blossom springing From a maiden ever pure, May our lips Thy praise be singing While eternal years [...]

PRAYER: On The Love Of God by Bernard of Clairvaux

July 3, 2017

I will love you, O Lord my strength, my stony rock and my defense, my savior my one desire and love. My God, my helper, I will love you with all the power you have given me; not as much as you deserve to be loved, for that can never be, but as much as I am able to. Whatever I do, I never can discharge my debt to you, and I can love you only according to the power that you have given me. The more power to love you give me, the more I will love you; yet never, never, can I love you as much as you should be loved. [...]

SERMON: Of The Struggle Of The Flesh And The Devil Against The Human Spirit, And The Efficacy Of Prayer by Bernard of Clairvaux

March 8, 2015

1. My loving concern for you, brothers, is why I speak to you.  It is so more often if I were not prevented by much business.  You should not wonder if I am concerned for you, since I find in myself much matter and cause for concern.  As often as I think of my own miserable condition and perils of every kind, my soul is troubled within me.  I must have no less concern for each of you if I love you as myself.  The one who searches hearts knows how often concern for you outweighs concern for myself in my heart.  You should not wonder that I have so much concern for you and that great anxiety disturbs me over every one of you when I see you in so miserable a condition and in such great danger.  It is clear that we make our own snare, [...]

SERMON: For God Has Given The Angels Charge Of You To Guard You In All Your Ways On (Psalm 90:11), by Bernard of Clairvaux

July 21, 2013

Blessed are our brothers who have already been set free from the snare of the hunter, who have crossed over from the tabernacles of the militant to the courts of peace.  Once the fear of evil has been put aside they are singularly lifted up to hope.  To one and all is said, No evil will befall you, no scourge come near your tent. (Psalm 91:10)  This is a great promise, but what gives me the right to hope for it?  How do I evade both evil and the scourge, how do I fly away, how might I go so far away (Psalm 55:6) that they will not draw near to me?  What merit, what wisdom, what virtue will carry me to this?  For he has given his angels charge of you, to keep you in all your ways.  In all ways?  What ways?  Those by means of which [...]

SERMON: Various Meanings Of The Kiss by Bernard of Clairvaux

December 30, 2012

During my frequent ponderings on the burning desire with which the patriarchs longed for the incarnation of Christ, I am stung with sorrow and shame.  Even now I can scarcely restrain my tears, so filled with shame am I by the lukewarmness, the frigid unconcern of these miserable times.  For which of us does the consummation of that event fill with as much joy as the mere promise of it inflamed the desires of the holy men of pre-Christian times?  Very soon now there will be great rejoicing as we celebrate the feast of Christ’s birth.  But how I wish it were inspired by his birth!  All the more therefore do I pray that the intense longing of those men of old, their heart-felt expectation, may be enkindled in me by these words: “Let [...]

PRAYER: Litany in Honor of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

August 20, 2012

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Queen conceived without sin, pray for us. Saint Bernard, pray for us. Saint Bernard, who in giving yourself to God drew many souls to Him, pray for us. Saint Bernard, prodigy of the eleventh age, pray for us. Saint Bernard, ornament of the clergy, pray for us. Saint Bernard, terror of heretics, pray for us. Saint Bernard, oracle of the Church, pray for us. Saint Bernard, light of bishops, pray for us. Saint [...]