URGENT! Make a gift that will be doubled. We have $9,931 left to match by December 1st.
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Succinct Spirituality

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Nov 26, 2012

Just yesterday I was reading once again Jean Leclercq’s introduction to Bernard of Clairvaux’s Selected Works (in the Paulist Press Classics of Western Spirituality series), and I came across this summary of St. Bernard’s approach to conversion and holiness:

Man’s end is to recognize truth, which is God. To do this he must be aware that his relationship with God is based on need. The obstacle to the relationship is pride; the remedy is humility. Grace is the condition for meeting God in Christ. The result is the esteem man places on his dignity, rediscovered in God’s image. While self-ignorance and pride lessen man’s worth, humility, which recognizes man’s need as well as his capacity for God, reveals man to himself. In this way, he emerges from himself and ascends; he grows and reaches new dimensions of love, both for God and for neighbor. (pp. 38-39)

This is a remarkable summary of both what it means to be human and what it means to be a Christian. Leclercq (1911-1993) was no doubt assisted here by living exactly such a spirituality himself as a Benedictine monk. In fact, he had an enormous reputation in his own right as a spiritually insightful commentator and historian. Perhaps his most famous work is The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture. Providentially, this book was assigned to me over forty years ago in a medieval history class at, of all places, a secular university.

What we have here is Jean Leclercq, OSB writing on the Cistercian Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. The result is the spiritual life in a nutshell. I think it worth passing on.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($63,989 to go):
$150,000.00 $86,011.12
43% 57%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Art and theology, beauty and truth, work together in the New Evangelization November 21
Anatomy of Conversion November 21
Anatomy of Conversion November 21
It is a failure of mercy to deny sin November 20
Yesterday's news, tomorrow November 20

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days