BERNARD was born at the castle of Fontaines, in Burgundy. The grace of his person and the vigor of his intellect filled his parents with the highest hopes, and the world lay bright and smiling before him when he renounced it forever and joined the monks at Citeaux. All his brothers followed Bernard to Citeaux except Nivard, the youngest, who was left to be the stay of his father in his old age. "You will now be heir of everything," said they to him, as they departed. "Yes," said the boy; "you leave me earth, and keep heaven for yourselves; do you call that fair?" And he too left the world. At length their aged father came to exchange wealth and honor for the poverty of a monk of Clairvaux. One only sister remained behind; she was married, and loved the world and its pleasures. Magnificently dressed, she visited Bernard; he refused to see her, and only at last consented to do so, not as her brother, but as the minister of Christ. The words he then spoke moved her so much that, two years later, she retired to a convent with her husband's consent, and died in the reputation of sanctity. Bernard's holy example attracted so many novices that other monasteries were erected, and our Saint was appointed abbot of that of Clairvaux. Unsparing with himself, he at first expected too much of his brethren, who were disheartened at his severity; but soon perceiving his error, he led them forward, by the sweetness of his correction and the mildness of his rule, to wonderful perfection. In spite of his desire to lie hid, the fame of his sanctity spread far and wide, and many churches asked for him as their Bishop. Through the help of Pope Eugenius III., his former subject, he escaped this dignity; yet his retirement was continually invaded: the poor and the weak sought his protection; bishops, kings, and popes applied to him for advice; and at length Eugenius himself charged him to preach the crusade. By his fervor, eloquence, and miracles Bernard kindled the enthusiasm of Christendom, and two splendid armies were despatched against the infidel. Their defeat was only due, said the Saint, to their own sins. Bernard died in 1153. His most precious writings have earned for him the titles of the last of the Fathers and a Doctor of Holy Church.
Reflection. —St. Bernard used to say to those who applied for admission to the monastery, "If you desire to enter here, leave at the threshold the body you have brought with you from the world; here there is room only for your soul." Let us constantly ask ourselves St. Bernard's daily question, "To what end didst thou come hither?"
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Introit • Ps. 67, 6, 7, 36
God in His holy place; God Who maketh men of one mind to dwell in a house: He shall give power and strength to His people. Ps. 67, 2. Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hat Him flee from before His face. Glory be …
Almighty, eternal God, Who, in the abundance of Thy loving-kindness, dost exceed both the hopes of Thy suppliants, pour forth Thy mercy upon us, to take away from us those things which our conscience feareth, and to add that which our prayer presumeth not to ask. Through our Lord.
Epistle • 1 Cor. 15, 1-10
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle.
[Christ's resurrection and ours. The manner of our resurrection.]
BRETHREN, I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; By which also you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures: And that he was seen by Cephas; and after that by the eleven.
Then he was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once: of whom many remain until this present, and some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. And last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace in me hath not been void.
Gradual • Ps. 27, 7-1
In God hath my heart confided, and I have been helped; and my flesh hath flourished again; and with my will I will give praise to Him. Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord: O my God, be not Thou silent; depart not from me. Ps. 80, 2, 3. Rejoice in God our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob: take a pleasant psalm with the harp. Alleluia.
Gospel • Mark 7, 31-37
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Mark.
[Christ rebukes the Pharisees. He heals the daughter of the woman of Chanaan; and the man that was deaf and dumb.]
At that time, Jesus going out of the coasts of Tyre, he came by Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring to him one deaf and dumb; and they besought him that he would lay his hand upon him. And taking him from the multitude apart, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting, he touched his tongue: And looking up to heaven, he groaned, and said to him: Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened. And immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right.
And he charged them that they should tell no man. But the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal did they publish it. And so much the more did they wonder, saying: He hath done all things well; he hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
Offertory • Ps. 29, 2, 3
I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me; and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me: O Lord, I have cried to Thee, and Thou hast healed me.
Look with mercy, we beseech Thee, O Lord, upon our homage, that the gift we offer may be accepted by Thee and be the support of our frailty. Through our Lord.
Communion • Prov. 3, 9, 10
Honor the Lord with substance, and with the first of all thy fruits: and thy barns shall be filled with abundance, and thy presses shall run over with wine.