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"Saints of Empowered Prayer: St. Bernard of Clairvaux"

St. Bernard of Clairvaux: St. Bernard was a young man who threw everything away for God when he was scarcely out of his teens, became a leader of men before he was twenty-five, and became the conscience of the West for a whole generation. He was known as the "Harpist of Mary", "Our Lady's Troubadour", and the "Panegyrist of the Mother of God". 

          Bernard was born in 1090, six years before the first crusade, and his father was Tescelin Sorrel, a noble belonging to a prominent Burgundian family. Tescelin and his wife, Aletha, had many sons and daughters, and the sons of the family were dedicated to arms. Bernard found a different kind of adventure, and when he was twenty-two, having gathered an "army" of friends and relatives to follow him, he entered the abbey of Citeaux, the strictest monastery of the day. His coming revitalized the monastery, and before he died there were over three hundred Cistercian monasteries, scattered from England to Palestine. 

          At the age of twenty-five, St. Bernard became abbot of Clairvaux and began there a preaching and teaching mission that made him the symbol of his age. He became embroiled in political and theological controversies, battled the dubious teaching of men like Peter Abelard, and attacked the soft living of the monks of his day who had settled into a comfortable way of life. He became the adviser of kings, princes, cardinals, and even the popes themselves when one of his monks became Pope Eugene III. 

          In the midst of his travels Bernard wanted to remain at Clairvaux and called himself the riddle of his age since he had to spend so much time outside his monastery. It was said that mothers hid their sons and wives hid their husbands when Bernard was in the territory since so many followed him into the cloister. 

          For over forty years, Bernard was the light of the Church, and when he died in 1153 he had influenced every major figure in his century. His memory is kept alive in the Cistercian Order, and the Church honors him as the "Honey-Tongued Teacher," the one who spoke so sweetly and so eloquently of God and His mysteries. Dante enshrined him in his Divine Comedy and made him the spokesman for the mystical life and for those who love and honor Mary. "Look to the Star, Look upon Mary," St. Bernard wrote, "and she will rescue you from every sin, temptation and misery." This shining devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is at the very heart of Catholic devotion, and Bernard best exemplifies this childlike love of the Mother of God. It is something to be imitated. Bernard was canonized in 1174 and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1830. His feast day is August 20th.  

Questions: 

1)   The life of St. Bernard shows us what God can do when someone hands their life over completely to God. Have I done so, or am I still living for myself? 

  

 

            

  

 

 

  

  

 

 

            

           

           

  

           

  

           

           

  

 

 

  

                  

            

                     

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

           

            

           

            

   

 

 

   

 

 

  

   

 

  

 

   

 

 

 

 

  

  

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

   



  

   

   

  

 

 

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