Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

François Jouffroy 1806-1882
Saint Bernard de Clairvaux 1877
Marble h = 280 ; 155 ; 100
Inscription: FS. JOUFFROY/1877
Cathédrale Notre-Dame et Saint-Vaast, Arras, Pas-de-Calais, France

Originally commissioned by the State for the Panthéon, it was moved to Arras in 1934

"We have taught that every soul, even though weighed down with sins, ensnared in vice, caught in the allurements of the passions, held captive in exile, and imprisoned in the body . . . even, I say, though it be thus damned and in despair, can find within itself not only reasons for yearning for the hope of pardon and the hope of mercy, but also for making bold to aspire to the nuptials of the Word, not hesitating to establish a covenant of union with God, and not being ashamed to carry the sweet yoke of love along with the King of the Angels. What will the soul not dare with Him whose marvellous image it sees within itself, and whose striking likeness it recognizes in itself?"
From St Bernard of Clairvaux: In Cantica, Serm. LXXXIII, 1; Migne, P. L., CLXXXIII, 1181-c, d

"What can so enrich the soul that reflects upon it [the holy name of Jesus] ? What can . . . strengthen the virtues, produces good and honourable dispositions, and foster holy affections? Dry is every kind of spiritual food which this oil does not moisten. Tasteless, whatever this salt does not season. If thou write, thy composition has no charms for me, unless I read there the name of Jesus. If thou debate or converse, I find no pleasure in thy words, unless I hear there the name of Jesus. Jesus is honey on the lips, melody in the ear, and joy in the heart. Yet not alone is that name light and food. It is also a remedy. Is anyone amongst you sad? Let the name of Jesus enter his heart; let it leap thence to his mouth; and then! the light shining from that name shall scatter every cloud and restore peace. Has some one perpetrated a crime, and then misled, moved despairingly towards the snare of death? Let him invoke this life-giving name, and straightway he shall find courage once more. . . Whoever, all a-tremble in the presence of danger, has not immediately felt his spirits revive and his fears depart as soon as he called upon this name of power? There is nothing as powerful as the name of Jesus to check anger, reduce the swelling of pride, and heal the smarting wound of envy. . ."
St Bernard of Clairvaux: In Cantica, Serm. XV, 6; Migne, P. L., CLXXXIII, 846-d, 847-a, b