St. Benardhttp://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Bernard.htmlPRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS
A great deal is to be found in the life of this Saint, which ought to inspire us to imitate him. I will here place a few of the principal points before you.
I. St. Bernard, when only a boy, would not allow anyone to alleviate or cure a headache by superstitious means. Take care that you resort to superstitious practices in sickness or on other occasions; for, it is committing a great sin against God. If you doubt whether a thing is superstitious or not, ask some priest before using it.
II. St. Bernard looked upon those who would tempt him to sin, as murderers, and called for help, as if his life had been in danger. May you so regard those who tempt you to sin; for, they are murderers, because they seek to kill the spiritual life of your soul, and place you in danger of forfeiting eternal life and happiness. Therefore treat them as assassins. We do not laugh and jest with a murderer, but we call for help and defend ourselves with all our might. Earnest and brave must we show ourselves when we are tempted to do wrong. God commanded His people, in the Old Testament, to stone a fallen woman together with her seducer. Why? "Because she cried not out, being in the city (Deut. xxii.)." She ought to have cried out; but not doing this was a sign that she did not seriously desire to defend herself.
III. This holy man punished an unguarded look at something impure, by throwing himself into the river and remaining there till he was almost frozen. He shows by this, that those who would lead a chaste life must carefully guard their eyes. What shall we say then of looking curiously or unnecessarily at the other sex, or at obscene pictures or certain theatrical scenes?
IV. St. Bernard induced many, by his example and exhortations, to embrace the religious life. A zealous servant of God is not content with serving the Almighty himself, but seeks also, by his words and example, to lead others to the same path.
V. When he was tempted to weariness in the service of God, he reanimated himself by saying: "Bernard, why art thou here?" Animate yourself in a similar manner, by recalling the destiny for which you were born, and ask yourself: "Why am I upon earth? For what was I created?"
VI. St. Bernard bore, with great patience, the derision and persecutions which he had to suffer on account of the unhappy end of the war to which he had called and encouraged the Christian princes. Do not regret too deeply if your plans and undertakings do not succeed as you expected. Be not disturbed if others mock you and persecute you.
VII. St. Bernard regarded himself as a useless servant, as a barren tree which deserved to be cut down; so deep was his humility. How then can you feel so elated, when you have done some good action? Ought you not to have done much more? Should not your laziness, your negligence humble you before God?
VIII. The holy man, by founding one hundred and sixty convents, left many servants of the Lord, and by his books, many wholesome instructions which are yet very beneficial to all who read them. Take care that when you die, you do not leave the spirit of Satan in your children or in those whom you scandalized or tempted to do wrong. Especially, leave no obscene books or pictures which may be occasion of sin to others. Furthermore, St. Bernard was remarkable for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He called to Her in all his trials, and advised others to do the same, as is evident from his sermons. " Let us," says he, "venerate Mary. It is the will of Him, who wishes that we should receive everything through her. In danger, in anxiety, in doubt, think of Mary, call to her." Somewhere else he says: "Let us have admittance to thy Son through thee, thou giver of graces, O Mother of life, O Mother of salvation." Follow the Saint's advice and example in this, and you will live free from sin, under the protection of Mary; find help in all your needs, and most surely gain your salvation.