August 20: St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Today, the Roman Catholic Church honors St. Bernard of Clairvaux (b. 1090- d. 1153).  St. Bernard was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and advised the following:

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 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.


Learn, O man, the counsel of God. Admire the intentions of Wisdom, the design of love. Before bedewing the whole earth, be saturated the fleece. Being to redeem the human race, he heaped up in Mary the entire ransom. O Adam, say no more: ‘The woman whom you gave me offered me the forbidden fruit.’ Say rather: ’The woman whom you gave me has fed me with a fruit of blessing.’ With what ardour ought we to honour Mary, in whom was set all the fullness of good! If we have any hope, any saving grace, know that it overflows from her who today rises replete with love: she is a garden of delights, over which the divine South Wind does not merely pass with a light breath, but sweeping down from the heights, he stirs it unceasingly with a heavenly breeze, so that it may shed abroad its perfumes, which are the gifts of various graces. Take away the material sun from the world: what would become of our day? Take away Mary, the star of the vast sea: what would remain but obscurity over all, a night of death and icy darkness? Therefore, with every fibre of our heart, with all the love of our soul, with all the eagerness of our aspirations, let us venerate Mary. It is the will of Him who wished us to have all things through her. (source)

St. Bernard, pray for us.


~Image: Vision of St Bernard with Saints Benedict and John the Evangelist by Fra Bartolomeo (b. 1472- d. 1517), source.