Monday, 20 August 2012

The Word is near you

Today is the feast day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a great reformer of the Church and of monasticism and co-founder of the Cistercians. He also warned strongly against antisemitism and was an outspoken critic of the corruption in the Church of the 12th century (e. g., saying “One cannot now say, the priest is as the people, for the truth is that the people are not so bad as the priest.”) In many ways he prefigured the Reformation, and while he was an outspoken critic, he remained a reformer who stayed faithful to the Church and was later proclaimed saint and Doctor of the Church. What I find most attractive about him though are his insights about how to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, with sayings like “The true measure of loving God is to love Him without measure.” My favourite though is: “You don't have to navigate seas, break through clouds or cross the Alps. The way that is being shown to you is not long. You only have to go towards God as far as yourself since the Word is near you: it is in your mouth and in your heart.”