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St Bernard’s Vision of Humility and Pride

 St Bernard's Vision of Humility and Pride We waste a lot of time thinking something is owed us. We brood over injury. We are not self-contained. Lent helps us remember the real truth about ourselves and our situation. The wisdom of the saints, like St. Bernard, helps us see our actual situation. His teachings suggest we can be free of brooding and find a new kind of self-possession when we allow the Lord to preoccupy us... Read More

St Bernard and Coming to the Fullness of Love

St Bernard and Coming to the Fullness of Love (Memorial of St Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church) St Bernard built a way of life that flowed from Chapter 73 of the Rule of St Benedict. In this final chapter, St Benedict urges monks to learn the discipline of the Christian life he has presented because it is a good beginning, the minimum needed to make progress in a life devoted to Christ. Once one makes a good... Read More

Saint Bernard’s Four Kinds of Contemplation

At the end of his treatise on contemplation (also known as his treatise On Consideration), Saint Bernard of Clairvaux observes the dimensions of Christian mental prayer. Specifically, when Saint Paul prays in Ephesians 3:18 that we might come to comprehend and be filled with the breadth and length, height and depth of the fullness of God revealed in the love of Christ, Saint Bernard sees four kinds of contemplation. For Saint Bernard,... Read More

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Loving God

In the wisdom of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, there is great reason to be confident as we begin to learn to love God. He is not ignorant of the fact that most of us often fall short in our efforts to seek God and live according to His commands.  His exhortation stands, not on the quality of our own initiative, but on God. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux proposes that God Himself is the cause of loving God: [God] is both the efficient... Read More

Praying in Humility and Mercy

Is it possible to pray out of misery without falling into self-pity? The question, posed by one of our readers, indicates a grave evil confronted in prayer. Misery is the demeaning absence of God's love, a love we have rejected. Without the love God created us to know, we are restless and in our restlessness we are inclined to mistake our own bloated egos for God. The gravity of such self-occupation is a perilous trap, a pit of... Read More