Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Born: 1090. Died: 1153.

Ideas

- There is a natural simplicity in the very substance of the soul; for the soul, it is the same to be as to live, but it is not the same thing to be as yo live well or to live happily; nevertheless the soul can ascend to this.

- For God, to be is to live happily.

- The soul is simple, immortal, and free; these cannot be lost but can be covered over.

- The soul becomes like what it desires - the simple soul becomes dispersed by its multiple desires; the immortal soul desiring changeable and perishing things becomes vascillating and fearful of losing what it desires, and its essential freedom is chained by its desires.

Biography

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is one of the most ilustrious Christian teacher and representatives of monasticism in the Middle Ages.

He is considered a Saint by the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. Catholics recognize him as a Doctor of the Church.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux was the primary builder of the Cistercian order of monks.

He joined the small monastery of Citeaux when he was 22.

By the new constitution of the Cistercians Clairvaux became the chief monastery of the five branches into which the order was divided under the supreme direction of the abbot of Citeaux. Though nominally subject to Citeaux, Clairvaux soon became the most important Cistercian house, owing to the fame and influence of Bernard.

His power soon made him famous, and with the death of Pope Honorius II in 1130, he asserted the claims of Pope Innocent II against those of Anacletus II, and thus became the most influential supporter of his cause.

In 1146, he preached in favor of a second crusade at Easter 1146 in front of King Louis VII. However, the outcome of the crusade was not as he expected it to be.

He died at the age of 63.

Major Works of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

- De Gradibus Superbiae (The Steps of Humility)
- On Consideration, 1148-1152
- On the Conversion of Clerics, 1122
- On Grace and Free Will, 1128
- On Loving God, 1123
- Sermons on the Song of Songs, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4, 1136-1153

Quotes from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

- "Who is He? I can think of no better answer than, He who is." (Quoted by Aldous Huxley in "Reflections on the Lord's Prayer-I")

- "Grace is necessary to salvation, free will equally so-but grace in order to give salvation, free will in order to receive it."

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