MONDAY THE TWENTY-FIRST OF AUGUST, 2017
High and holy God, give me this day a word of truth to silence the lies that would devour my soul and kind encouragements to strengthen me when I fall. Gracious one, I come quietly to your door needing to receive from your hands the nourishment that gives life. Amen and amen.
( Bernard of Clairvaux )
O Jesus, King most wonderful;
you conqueror renowned;
you sweetness most ineffable,
in whom all joys are found!
When once you do visit the heart,
then truth begins to shine,
then earthly vanities depart,
then kindles love divine.
O Jesus, light of all below;
you fount of living fire,
surpassing all the joys we know,
and all we can desire.
Jesus, may all confess your name,
your wondrous love adore;
and, seeking you, themselves inflame
to seek you more and more.
You may our tongues for ever bless,
you may we love alone,
and ever in our lives express
the image of your own.
Abide with us, and let your light
shine, Lord, on every heart;
dispel the darkness of our night,
and joy to all impart.
Jesus, our love and joy, to you,
the Father's only son,
all might, and praise, and glory be,
while endless ages run.
( Bernard of Clairvaux )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Bernard of Clairvaux, terrible, yet tender in his love for Christ
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux was a man driven to passionate action by his faith and love for Christ. This had both a tender side and a terrible side. As such Bernard is a worthy subject for our attention, because he helps us to see the interior struggle of many Christians, wrestling both with God’s grace and mercy, and with human nature and sin.
Bernard was a Benedictine monk, but left the Benedictines with a number of other monks to found a new, stricter order of monks, known as Cistercians. They established themselves at the monastery of Clairvaux, France in 1115. He instituted such a harsh regimen during the monastery’s first year, that the monks became discouraged and threatened to leave. He softened his rule and the monastery took root and grew. He wrote treatises and letters on virtually every controversy that affected the Church in the twelfth century. He took on Peter Abelard and vigorously disputed with him the place of reason in Christian doctrine (he favoured less reason, more mysticism). He wrote to the Pope a treatise warning of the temptations to which wielders of spiritual power were subjected.
In his preaching he encouraged the Church to rise up and suppress the French heretics known as Cathars. Many individuals were subjected to intimidation and torture, and many innocent people were killed in the name of Christ and the Church. On the other hand he was a vociferous defender of the Jews, at a time in Europe, when many advocated their destruction. He personally confronted those called for the slaughter of Jews, and the forcefulness of his preaching quelled the movement. To this day many Jews in the Rhineland honour Bernard as a “righteous gentile.”
He was most tender in his devotion to Christ, and has left us the texts of several hymns that are still in use by the Christian Church. Perhaps the most famous of these is “Jesu dulcis memoria,” here in a translation by Edward Caswall:
“Jesus, the very thought of you fills us with sweet delight;
but sweeter far your face to view and rest within your light.
No voice can sing, no heart can frame, nor can the mind recall
a sweeter sound than your blest name, O saviour of us all.”
By the time of his death, on the twentieth of August, 1153, his Cistercian order had spread to sixty monasteries.
Scripture. In the fifteenth chapter of "John," at verse nine and ten we read:
"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love."
... for peace in the world.
... for monks.
... for preachers.
... for an end to the punishing of people for their religious beliefs.
... that we may receive the strength of purpose to seek God through prayer and living a simple life.
... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
From "On Loving God"by Bernard of Clairvaux:
To love our neighbour’s welfare as much as our own: that is true and sincere charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned (I Tim. 1.5). Whosoever loves his own prosperity only is proved thereby not to love good for its own sake, since he loves it on his own account. And so he cannot sing with the psalmist, ‘O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is gracious’ (Ps. 118.1). Such a man would praise God, not because God is goodness, but because God has been good to him.
One type of person praises God because God is mighty, another because God is gracious, yet another solely because God is essential goodness. The first is a slave and fears for himself; the second is greedy, desiring further benefits; but the third is a son who honours his father. He who fears, he who profits, are both concerned about self-interest. Only in the son is that charity which seeks not her own (I Cor. 13.5).
Wherefore I take this saying, ‘The law of the Lord is an undefiled law, converting the soul’ (Ps. 19.7) to be of charity; because charity alone is able to turn the soul away from love of self and of the world to pure love of God. Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire. Sometimes a slave may do God’s work; but because he does not toil voluntarily, he remains in bondage. So a mercenary may serve God, but because he puts a price on his service, he is enchained by his own greediness. For where there is self-interest there is isolation; and such isolation is like the dark corner of a room where dust and rust befoul. Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed (James 1.14). But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.
O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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