Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
for August 20
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux was called at the age of 20 to leave his family and join the Monastery of Citeaux. He was soon joined in his new monastic lifestyle by numerous family members and friends. Bernard was fervent and demanding, though he tended to be more demanding of himself than of others. After an ailment, Bernard became more patient and understanding. Saint Bernard often left the monastery to be a mediator for longstanding arguments. Because of his gift of expressive and persuasive speech, he traveled through Europe, gaining support for the Second Crusade. However, when the Second Crusade ended in bloodshed and disaster, Bernard personally shouldered much of the responsibility, which may have been one of the reasons for his death. Saint Bernard was canonized in 1174. He was named a Doctor of the Church in 1830.
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Saint Bernard of Clairvaux's experiences and writing have influenced generations of Christians and taught many how to more effectively pray and grow in union with God. Among many lessons, Saint Bernard emphasized the importance of lectio divina. Lectio divina consists of reading Scripture, thinking about its meaning, and speaking with God about it. Have you ever practiced lectio divina?
Read a story from the Gospels. Ask God to help you interpret its meaning and importance in your life. Think about the story and what you think God is saying in it. Ask God to teach you about the meaning. Ask God to help you incorporate the meaning of the story into your life. Simply sit with God, allowing his wisdom and love to overcome you. This is lectio divina.