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Blog Post - August 20th

S. Bernard of Clairvaux| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection


St. Bernard of Clairvaux

(1091-1153)

Both Calendars

Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days.

In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light.

His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know.

Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope.

The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster.

Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.

Comment:

Bernard’s life in the Church was more active than we can imagine possible today. His efforts produced far-reaching results. But he knew that they would have availed little without the many hours of prayer and contemplation that brought him strength and heavenly direction. His life was characterized by a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. His sermons and books about Mary are still the standard of Marian theology.

Quote:

“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal” (St. Bernard).


Daily Meditation

Pray Incessantly:

God already knows what you need; now He just wants to hear you say it.

Quote by S. Padre Pio:

You need to be a little more docile.

Divine Mercy Reflection

Reflections on Notebook Three: 189-236


We continue now to the third notebook that Saint Faustina filled with messages of Mercy from our Lord. As you enter into this notebook, pause and reflect upon all that you have read so far. Has it changed your perspective on life? Has it changed you? If it has, then continue down that same path and trust that the Lord will continue to do great things in your life. If it has not, reflect upon why!


Sometimes we need more than the words we read. We also need true prayer, deep prayer and what we may call “soaking prayer.” Consider this as you read through the reflections flowing from this notebook and allow the words to not only enter your mind, but to also enter deeper. Read them prayerfully and carefully. Speak to our Lord as Saint Faustina did. Read some more of her actual diary in addition to these reflections and learn from her humble and childlike faith.


The Lord wants to do great things in your life! Open the door, through prayer and reflection, and let Him in!


Reflection 232: Calming the Storm


Recall the story of Jesus calming the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). This miraculous act was done as a prophetic sign of Him bringing you peace during the particular challenges you face in life. Jesus did this on a practical level for the safety and well-being of His Apostles. However, by showing that He had absolute and immediate authority over the storm at sea, Jesus also made it clear that He has absolute and immediate authority over any storm within your life, pledging His closeness in your midst. It should be consoling to you to know that there is nothing too much for God’s omnipotence. He can do all things and can bring peace to any and every situation. Knowing this should give you confidence as you surrender your “storms” to Him. And when the storm remains fierce, despite your prayers, you should be assured that it is for your good or the good of others. It’s an opportunity to deepen your trust in Him and to know of His particular closeness in those moments (See Diary #1197).


Identify the storm in your life right now. And if things are relatively calm, be grateful but also call to mind that this will not always be the case. Life can “change on a dime” as has been said. We must be ready for anything and everything that befalls us. As you ponder a storm of life, ask yourself whether you believe Jesus is there, in the midst, by your side, keeping you safe. Do you know that He could solve any problem instantaneously? Reassure yourself of this fact and allow this faith to add confidence to your troubled heart. The Lord’s love for you is perfect; He will never let you drown.


Lord, I trust in Your almighty power and unconditional love. I trust that You care about me and are present in every storm I face in life. Give me hope in the midst of every trial and enable me to turn to You as the source of my peace. I love You, dear Lord. Jesus, I trust in You.

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