Sunday, August 19, 2012

Solemnity of Saint Bernard

After years of difficulty our first monastery in Cîteaux, France came to life with the arrival in 1113 of a group of young Burgundian noblemen, under the leadership of Bernard of Fontaine-lès-Dijon. He was destined to become the Order's most famous son. As we celebrate the ninth centenary of Saint Bernard’s entry into the Abbey of Cîteaux, we pray for vocations to our Abbey and to all the monasteries of our Order.

Most loving Father,
in establishing the New Monastery at Cîteaux
our fathers followed the poor Christ into the desert.
Thus they lived the Gospel,
by rediscovering the Rule of Saint Benedict in its purity.

You gave Bernard of Fontaine the ability
to make this new life attractive and appealing to others,
in the joy of the Holy Spirit.

Grant that we today, after their example,
may live our charism deeply
in a spirit of peace, unity, humility,
and above all, in the charity which surpasses all other gifts.

May men and women of our time
be called to follow the Gospel in monastic life,
in the service of the Church’s mission,
in a world often forgetful of You.

May the monks and nuns of our Order 
continue to live in the enthusiastic
and generative spirit of the founders.
And in all of our needs may we always turn to Our Lady 
whom Bernard called the Star of the Sea.

Holy Father, from whom we have already received so much,
grant us again your blessing
that our communities may grow in numbers,
but above all in grace and in wisdom,
to your glory,
who are blessed for ever and ever.

Francisco Ribalta, Christ Embracing Saint Bernard, Oil on canvas, 1625-1627, 113 x 158 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid.
Prayer adapted from original by Dom Olivier, abbot of Cîteaux.