Tuesday, August 20, 2013

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Today the Church celebrates the life and ministry of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a theologian and monk, who was born in 1090 and died in 1153.  He was born into a wealthy family in Burgundy, France, near Dijon.  Believing he was called to the monastic life, at 22 years of age Bernard joined a new austere religious order, the Cistercians.  He even persuaded 4 of his brothers, 1 uncle, and 26 other men to join him. They were the first novices that the monastery in Citeaux had in several years. After just 3 years, the abbot ordered Bernard to take 12 monks and found a new house at La Ferte. The first year was a rocky one; they had no place to store food so they lived on roots and barley bread. Bernard was so hard on his monks that they became discouraged and despondent. Eventually Bernard saw the error of his ways and lightened up. That monastery became known as Clairvaux and its reputation spread all across Christendom.
Bernard was a man of fierce loyalties and passionate dedication to whatever he believed was right.  Bernard was selected to preach at the Second Crusade, an affair which went wrong from its start.  He also got involved in papal politics and he was very critical of Peter Abelard, one of the most brilliant theologians of the day. James Kiefer writes that: “Bernard believed that Abelard was too rationalistic in his approach, and failed to allow sufficiently for the element of mystery in the faith.”  A mutual friend managed to get the 2 men to reconcile. 
Bernard’s sermons on the Song of Songs, treated as an allegory of the love of Christ, are his best-known long work. 
Let us pray:  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, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.
Adult Christian Education every Sunday at 11:00 a.m.: Contemporary Moral Issues.
Sunday, 25 August at 9:00 a.m. the Feast of St. Augustine will be celebrated with Eucharist Rite II and a pot luck lunch after.  This is the 129th anniversary of our church community.  We will also have our “Blessing of the Backpacks” for all of those returning to school.
Sunday, 8 September we will: (1) begin Sunday School for the children, and (2) bless all of those participating in EFM which is being facilitated by Tammie Taylor.
Retreat on 19-22 September 2013 at Holy Cross Monastery led by the Rev. Dr. Tom  Bain, “Standing at the Center with God and Ourselves.”  Here is a link to the website:
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List especially Jim Reagan and all of those who are starting college and will be away from home for the first time.
Your servant in Christ,
The Rev. Chester J. Makowski
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550

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