Saint Bernard on Considerationby Saint Bernard
There is a general consensus that the treatise on Consideration is the greatest of St. Bernard's literary efforts. Calvin declared that in it the author spoke so sublimely as if he were the very truth speaking. Neander regarded it as a mirror of humiliation to all subsequent popes. Mr. Cotter Morison describes it as his great work; his American admirer, Dr. Storrs,… See more details below
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There is a general consensus that the treatise on Consideration is the greatest of St. Bernard's literary efforts. Calvin declared that in it the author spoke so sublimely as if he were the very truth speaking. Neander regarded it as a mirror of humiliation to all subsequent popes. Mr. Cotter Morison describes it as his great work; his American admirer, Dr. Storrs, more in detail, as follows: The book has remained from that day to this the mirror of St. Bernard's thoughts concerning a true pastor of Christendom. There is no single work of Bernard in which his spirit is more clearly or more tranquilly revealed; none which is a better memorial of him.
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – August 20, 1153) was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order.
After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. "Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val d'Absinthe, about 15 km southeast of Bar-sur-Aube. According to tradition, Bernard founded the monastery on 25 June 1115, naming it Claire Vallée, which evolved into Clairvaux. There Bernard would preach an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary." In the year 1128, Bernard assisted at the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar, who soon became the ideal of Christian nobility.
On the death of Pope Honorius II, a schism broke out in the Church. Louis VI of France convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes in 1130, and Bernard was chosen to judge between the rivals for pope. After the council of Étampes, Bernard went to speak with the King of England, Henry I, Beauclerc, about the king's reservations regarding Pope Innocent II. Beauclerc was sceptical because most the bishops of England supported Anacletus II; he convinced him to support Innocent. Germany had decided to support Innocent through Norbert of Xanten, who was a friend of Bernard's. However, Innocent insisted on Bernard's company when he met with Lothair III of Germany. Lothair became Innocent's strongest ally among the nobility. Despite the councils of Étampes, Wurzburg, Clermont, and Rheims all supporting Innocent, there were still large portions of the Christian world supporting Anacletus. At the end of 1131, the kingdoms of France, England, Germany, Castile, and Aragon supported Innocent; however, most of Italy, southern France, and Sicily, with the patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem, supported Anacletus. Bernard set out to convince these other regions to rally behind Innocent. The first person whom he went to was Gerard of Angoulême. He proceeded to write a letter, called Letter 126. This letter questioned Gerard's reasons for supporting Anacletus. Bernard would later comment that Gerard was his most formidable opponent during the whole schism. After convincing Gerard, Bernard traveled to visit the Count of Poitiers. He was the hardest for Bernard to convince. He did not pledge allegiance to Innocent until 1135. After that, Bernard spent most of his time in Italy convincing the Italians to pledge allegiance to Innocent. He traveled to Sicily in 1137 to convince the king of Sicily to follow Innocent. The whole conflict ended when Anacletus died on January 25, 1138. In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran. Bernard denounced the teachings of Peter Abelard to the pope, who called a council at Sens in 1141 to settle the matter. Bernard soon saw one of his disciples elected as Pope Eugenius III. Having previously helped end the schism within the church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. In June 1145, Bernard traveled in southern France and his preaching there helped strengthen support against heresy.
Following the Christian defeat at the Siege of Edessa, the pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade.
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