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Monday, August 20, 2007

St. Bernard of Clairvaux- August 20

Bernard entered the Benedictines at Citeaux and, although only 21, he convinced his brothers, his uncle, and many noblemen to enter with him. Within three years he was chosen Abbot for the new monastery of Clairvaux. Bernard attracted thousands to the stricter contemplative life and founded 68 monasteries and had authority over 164 of the 350 houses that existed across Europe. Bernard influenced popes, bishops, and councils and preached the 2nd Crusade but is a Doctor of the Church for his mystical and theological writings; he used Scripture with such ease that he was given the title of "Doctor Melliflous". Central to his theology is the belief that God is love and Love created us out of love to share Love itself.
In Sermon 83 in commenting on the Song of Songs Bernard says: "When God loves, he desires nothing but to be loved, since he loves us for no other reason than to be loved, for he knows that those who love him are blessed in their very love."

The Memorare, one of my very favorite prayers, is attributed to St. Bernard who had great devotion to Mary. Here it is:
Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To you I come; before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

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