August 19, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hymnwriter and Theologian

There is no glory in having a gift without knowing it. But to know only that you have it, without knowing that it is not of yourself that you have it, means self-glorying, but no true glory in God. And so the apostle says to men in such cases, "What do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you received it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?" (1 Cor. 4:7). He asks, Why do you glory? but goes on, "as if you had not received it," showing that the guilt is not in glorying over a possession but in glorying as though it had not been received. And rightly such glorying is called vain-glory, since it has not the solid foundation of truth. The apostle shows how to discern the true glory from the false when he says, "He that glories, let him glory in the Lord," that is, in the truth, since our Lord is truth (1 Cor. 1:31; John 14:6).

We must hate and shun that presumption which would lead us to glory in goods not our own, knowing that they are not of ourselves but of God, and yet not fearing to rob God of the honor due unto Him. . . . Ignorance is brutal, arrogance is devilish. Pride only, the chief of all iniquities, can make us treat gifts as if they were rightful attributes of our nature, and, while receiving benefits, rob our Benefactor of His due glory. . . .

The Father of Christ, who makes all things new, is well pleased with the freshness of those flowers and fruits and the beauty of the field that breathes forth such heavenly fragrance. And He says in benediction, "See, the smell of My Son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed" (Gen. 27:27). Blessed to overflowing, indeed, since of His fullness have we all received (John 1:16).

—Bernard of Clairvaux

A leader in Christian Europe in the first half of the twelfth century AD, Bernard is honored in his native France and around the world. Born into a noble family in Burgundy in 1090, Bernard left the affluence of his heritage and entered the monastery of Citeaux at the age of twenty-two. After two years, he was sent to start a new monastic house at Clairvaux. His work there was blessed in many ways. The monastery at Clairvaux grew in mission and service, eventually establishing some sixty-eight daughter houses. Bernard is remembered not only for his charity and political abilities but especially for his preaching and hymn composition. The hymn texts "O Jesus, King Most Wonderful" and "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" are part of the heritage of the faith left by St. Bernard.

Prayer

O God, enkindled with the fire of Your love, Your servant Bernard of Clairvaux became a burning and shining light in Your Church. By Your mercy, grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline and may ever walk in Your presence as children of light; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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Published in: on August 19, 2013 at 7:59 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] August 19, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hymnwriter and Theologian (treasuryofdailyprayer.wordpress.com) […]


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