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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux - August 20

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux 

August 20

Saint Bernard was born in 1090 in Fontaines, France into a large and fairly well-to-do family.  At the age of 20 he entered Cîteaux, a new monastic foundation.  In 1115 he founded the monastery Clairvaux. On another front Bernard combated the heresy of the Cathars, who despised matter and the human body and consequently despised the Creator.  Saint Bernard wrote many theological and spiritual works and held the title Doctor Mellifluus.  He died in 1153. 

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had this to say about Saint Bernard of Clairvaux during his General Audience on October 21, 2009: 

“(Saint Bernard wrote of the Name of Jesus) Jesus alone is "honey in the mouth, song to the ear, jubilation in the heart." The title Doctor Mellifluus, attributed to Bernard by tradition, stems precisely from this; indeed, his praise of Jesus Christ "flowed like honey". In the extenuating battles between Nominalists and Realists two philosophical currents of the time the Abbot of Clairvaux never tired of repeating that only one name counts, that of Jesus of Nazareth. "All food of the soul is dry", he professed, "unless it is moistened with this oil; insipid, unless it is seasoned with this salt. What you write has no savor for me unless I have read Jesus in it" (In Canticum Sermones XV, 6: PL 183, 847).

For Bernard, in fact, true knowledge of God consisted in a personal, profound experience of Jesus Christ and of his love. And, dear brothers and sisters, this is true for every Christian: faith is first and foremost a personal, intimate encounter with Jesus; it is having an experience of his closeness, his friendship and his love. It is in this way that we learn to know him ever better, to love him and to follow him more and more. May this happen to each one of us!”

For items related to the Catholic Church 

Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Bernard - Filippino Lippi
Bernard of Clairvaux - George Andreas Wasshuber
The Vision of Saint Bernard - Fra Bartolommeo 

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