Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

20 August -- Lesser Festival -- Teacher of the Faith -- White

Bernard was born at Fontaines, near Dijon, in France in the year 1090. He entered the Benedictine abbey at Cîteaux in 1112, taking with him many of his young companions, some of whom were his own brothers. He was a leader of the reform within Benedictinism at this time and in 1115 was sent to establish a new monastery at a place he named Clairvaux, or valley of light. Though times were hard, he built up the community with his remarkable qualities of leadership. Bernard preached widely and powerfully and proved himself a theologian of renown. Literally hundreds of houses were founded on the Cîteaux or Cistercian system and Bernard's influence on his own generation and beyond was immense. He died on this day in 1153.

Collect

Merciful Redeemer,
who, by the life and preaching of your servant Bernard,
rekindled the radiant light of your Church:
grant us, in our generation,
to be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love,
and ever to walk before you as children of light;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Proverbs.

Get wisdom; get insight: do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honour you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a fair garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown."

This is the word of the Lord.         Proverbs 4. 5-9

Responsorial Psalm

RTheir sound has gone out into all lands,
[and their message to the ends of the world].
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament shows his handiwork.
One day tells its tale to another,
and one night imparts knowledge to another. R

Although they have no words or language,
and their voices are not heard,
Their sound has gone out into all lands,
and their message to the ends of the world. R

In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
it rejoices like a champion to run its course. R

It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of it again;
nothing is hidden from its burning heat. R

The law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure
and gives wisdom to the innocent. R         From Psalm 19

A reading from the Revelation to John.

From the throne came a voice saying, "Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great." Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out, "Alleluia! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure" -- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessèd are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God."

This is the word of the Lord.         Revelation 19. 5-9

Post Communion

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
   of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servant Bernard
   to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.