Saturday, 20 August 2011

St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church

I grew up in the parish of The Sacred Heart and St. Bernard. We always referred to the church as "St. Bernard's". I believe that the patron saints of the parishes where we received our first sacraments, and especially baptism, should be especially dear to us. When I was child I never gave St. Bernard much thought, but looking back, I'm sure he must have had some influence on me and all those who have been members of that parish. I have the impression that he was not always an easy person to live with. He certainly threw himself into causes of one kind or another - all related either to the well-being of the Church or the true teaching of the Faith. He made mistakes - at least one of them rather tragic (in relation to St. William of York), and he was prone to anxiety which was probably the cause of his frequent stomach trouble. He was a great preacher, and this seems to have been built on a natural ability as a communicator. The Holy Spirit gave him the charism of preaching and he was much in demand in places which needed to hear a clear and strong message in opposition to heresy and confusion. His wisdom was so prized that he was even spoken of as guiding the Church to the west of Rome. Some years ago I did some research on the Memorare. There is no historical evidence that he wrote it though it seems to have originated with the Cistercians and could be attributed to his influence in some way.
There is more information here. Below is a quotation from the Divine Office reading for today:

Love is sufficient of itself; it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in the practice. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return. The sole purpose of his love is to be loved, int he knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.


  1. Anglican Calling21 August 2011 at 05:05

    I am about to send two verses to a UK blog from a hymn by Frederick William Faber, the Anglican convert to Catholicism around the time of Blessed John Henry.
    His is an interesting story and I wonder if you might consider a post?

    The verse is relevant to the question of Communion in the hand/on the tongue, tele-evangelism, and also to the new technological forms of piety that you have recently been been discussing-

    But we make His love too narrow
    by false limits of our own
    and we magnify His strictness
    with a zeal He will not own.

    If our love were but more simple
    we would take Him at His word
    And our lives would be illumined
    by the presence of Our Lord.

  2. "The Holy Spirit gave him the charism of preaching and he was much in demand in places which needed to hear a clear and strong message in opposition to heresy and confusion".

    St. Bernard set a standard. Voris is no St Bernard and certainly no Billy Graham.