Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
1091
1153

French Ecclesiastic Abbot and primary builder of the Cistercian Order

Author Quotes

He gave Himself to merit for us, He retains Himself to be our reward, He offers Himself as the food of saintly souls, He gives himself as the price of the redemption of those in captivity.

Nothing can work me damage except myself. The harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and never am a real sufferer but by my own fault.

You wish to see; listen. Hearing is a step toward Vision.

He that will teach himself in school, becomes a scholar to a fool.

One cannot now say, the priest is as the people, for the truth is that the people are not so bad as the priest.

Your actions in passing, pass not away, for every good work is a grain of seed for eternal life.

His fatherly love is greater than any injustice whatsoever.

Prayer is a virtue that prevaileth against all temptations.

Your sins are very great and beyond number. Never will you be able to make satisfaction for them, so many and so great are they, not even if you strip the very skin from your body.

I do a great wrong in His sight, when I beseech Him that He will hear my prayer, which as I give utterance to it, I do not hear myself. I entreat Him that He will think of me; but I regard neither myself nor Him. Nay, what is worse, turning over corrupt and evil thoughts in mine heart, I thrust a dreadful offensiveness into His presence.

Religion brought forth riches, and the daughter devoured the mother.

I know by myself how incomprehensible God is, seeing I cannot comprehend the parts of my own being.

That beast of the Apocalypse, to whom is given a mouth speaking blasphemies, and to make war with the saints, is sitting on the throne of Peter, like a lion ready for his prey.

I, for one, shall speak about those obstinate Greeks, who are with us and against us, united in faith and divided in peace, though in truth their faith may stray from the straight path.

The cause of loving God is God. I spoke the truth, for He is both the efficient and final Cause. It is He who gives the occasions, it is He who creates the affection, He consummates the desire.

If the appetite alone hath sinned, let it alone fast, and it sufficeth. But if the other members also have sinned, why should they not fast, too. . . . Let the eye fast from strange sights and from every wantonness, so that that which roamed in freedom in fault-doing may, abundantly humbled, be checked by penitence. Let the ear, blameably eager to listen, fast from tales and rumors, and from whatsoever is of idle import, and tendeth least to salvation. Let the tongue fast from slanders and murmurings, and from useless, vain, and scurrilous words, and sometimes also, in the seriousness of silence, even from things which may seem of essential import. Let the hand abstain from . . . all toils which are not imperatively necessary. But also let the soul herself abstain from all evils and from acting out her own will. For without such abstinence the other things find no favor with the Lord.

The faith of simplicity is mocked… questions on the highest things are impertinently asked, the Fathers scorned because they were disposed to conciliate rather than solve such problems. Human reason is snatching everything to itself, leaving nothing for faith. It falls upon things which are beyond it... desecrates sacred things more than clarifies them. It does not unlock mysteries and symbols, but tears them asunder; it makes nought of everything to which it cannot gain access and disdains to believe all such things.

In order to merit, it is enough to know that our merits do not suffice for us.

The obedience which we render to a superior is paid to God, Who says, ‘He that hears you hears Me;’ so that whatever he who holds the place of God commands, supposing it is not evidently contrary to God's law, is to be received by us as if it came from God Himself; for it is the same thing to know His Will, either from His Own, from an Angel's, or from a man's mouth.

Inordinate love for the flesh is cruelty, because under the appearance of pleasing the body, we kill the soul.

The peacemakers shall be called the sons of God, who came to make peace between God and man. What then shall the sowers of discord be called, but the children of the devil? And what must they look for but their father's portion?

Hail, O bleeding Head and wounded,
With a crown of thorns surrounded,
Buffeted, and bruised and battered,
Smote with reed by striking shattered,
Face with spittle vilely smeared!
Hail, whose visage sweet and comely,
Marred by fouling stains and homely,
Changed as to its blooming color,
All now turned to deathly pallor,
Making heavenly hosts affeared!

Hell is paved with good intentions.

Death, the gate of life.

He who labors as he prays lifts his heart to God with his hands.

Author Picture
First Name
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Birth Date
1091
Death Date
1153
Bio

French Ecclesiastic Abbot and primary builder of the Cistercian Order