Today the church remembers Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, 1153.Though his body was meager and emaciated from strict monastic practices, the figure of Bernard of Clairvaux towered over the twelfth-century church like a colossus. This bold and forthright monk from Southern France, the Abbot of Clairvaux, tutored by the devout and wise Englishman, Stephen Harding, was the most eloquent and effective leader of both church and state in his generation. Bernard traveled widely, writing and speaking against the Albigensian heresy and against the Christian mistreatment of Jews. He was drawn into every major international conflict of his day, including disputed papal elections and the disastrous Second Crusade. But his chief concern was for the renewal of the church. Bernard supervised the founding of at least sixty new monasteries. He taught absolute devotion to Christ and to the mission of Christ"s body, the church. His popular treatise On the Love of God still speaks clearly to those who read it. He lamented the indolence and vain luxury of many of the church"s leaders, writing, “The church is resplendent in her walls, beggarly in her poor. She clothes her stones in gold, and leaves her sons naked!” Almighty and everlasting God, who did enkindle the flame of your love in the heart of your servant Bernard: Grant to us, your humble servants, the same faith and power of love. Amen.
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O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.