Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Christian Heroes: Bernard of Clairvaux

            During the reign of Pope Innocent II, the papacy was the greatest power in Europe at that time.  Kingdoms, countries, and men were controlled by, and in awe of, the papacy.  But there were still some men who, even though they submitted to the Pope, trusted in Christ as their Saviour. One of these men was Bernard of Clairvaux.  His heart was full of God’s love and energy to spread the Gospel to all nations.  On three occasions he was appointed bishop of certain cities, but he turned down these offers because he said that the word of God teaches not to strive after great things.  He had many people who followed him, and when one of them actually became Pope, Bernard spoke to him with these words, ‘“Remember that you are a successor of Him who said, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’ Gold and silk and pearls and soldiers you have not received of Christ, but they came to you from Constantine. Never strive after these things. Would to God that before I die I might see the Church as it was in olden times when the apostles cast their nets, not to catch gold and silver but the souls of men.”’[1]  Bernard founded many monasteries and was asked for advice by influential men. He also wrote many hymns and preached sermons to different congregations.  Before his death he said that there were three things on which he based his hope for eternity: The love of God for his children; the certainty of His promises; and the power by which He will make these promises come true.  Such words show that he rested his only hope on Christ.  Like all men he erred in some ways, but he was a light of Christ to the people of his day, and we can see that he was a true man of God.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

[1] S. M. Houghton, ‘Sketches from Church History’, (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2006), P. 59.


  1. But Innocent III live from 1160 until 1216... And saint Bernard from 1090 until 1153...

  2. Thanks for bringing that point to my attention. I meant Innocent the II!

  3. Mmm... but about the times of Innocent II you cannot say that the "papacy was the greatest power in Europe", that was in times of the III :) But, remaining in Bernard: the better study, I think that you can read is by E. Gilson, The Mystical Theology of St. Bernard... enjoy it!


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