OREMUS: 20 August 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Aug 19 17:00:01 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Monday, August 20, 2007 
Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher of the Faith, 1153

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise. nnn

Blessed are you, Lord and giver of life,
you alone nourish and sustain your people,
through Christ, the bread of life.
You feed our hunger and quench our thirst,
that we may no longer walk for what fails to satisfy,
but do what you require, in obedience and faith.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever.

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it,*
 the world and all who dwell therein.
For it is he who founded it upon the seas*
 and made it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
'Who can ascend the hill of the Lord?*
 and who can stand in his holy place?'
'Those who have clean hands and a pure heart,*
 who have not pledged themselves to falsehood,
   nor sworn by what is a fraud.
'They shall receive a blessing from the Lord*
 and a just reward from the God of their salvation.'
Such is the generation of those who seek him,*
 of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, O gates;
   lift them high, O everlasting doors;*
 and the King of glory shall come in.
'Who is this King of glory?'*
 'The Lord, strong and mighty,
   the Lord, mighty in battle.'
Lift up your heads, O gates;
   lift them high, O everlasting doors;*
 and the King of glory shall come in.
'Who is he, this King of glory?'*
 'The Lord of hosts,
   he is the King of glory.'

Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord, you gods,*
 ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name;*
 worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
   the God of glory thunders;*
 the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice;*
 the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendour.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees;*
 the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,*
 and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire;
   the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;*
 the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe*
 and strips the forests bare.
And in the temple of the Lord*
 all are crying, 'Glory!'
The Lord sits enthroned above the flood;*
 the Lord sits enthroned as king for evermore.
The Lord shall give strength to his people;*
 the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

A Song of Judith (Judith 16:13-16)

I will sing a new song to my God,
for you are great and glorious,
truly strong and invincible.

May your whole creation serve you,
for you spoke and all things came to be.

You sent forth your Spirit and they were formed,
for no one can resist your voice.

Mountains and seas are stirred to their depths;
at your presence rocks shall melt like wax.

But to those who fear you,
you continue to show mercy.

No sacrifice, however fragrant, can please you,
but whoever fears the Lord
shall stand in your sight for ever.

Psalm 150

   Praise God in his holy temple;*
 praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts;*
 praise him for his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the ram's-horn;*
 praise him with lyre and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;*
 praise him with strings and pipe.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;*
 praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath*
 praise the Lord.

FIRST READING [Isaiah 5:8-23]:

Ah, you who join house to house,
   who add field to field,
until there is room for no one but you,
   and you are left to live alone
   in the midst of the land!
The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
Surely many houses shall be desolate,
   large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
   and a homer of seed shall yield a mere ephah.

Ah, you who rise early in the morning
   in pursuit of strong drink,
who linger in the evening
   to be inflamed by wine,
whose feasts consist of lyre and harp,
   tambourine and flute and wine,
but who do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
   or see the work of his hands!
Therefore my people go into exile without knowledge;
their nobles are dying of hunger,
   and their multitude is parched with thirst.

Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
   and opened its mouth beyond measure;
the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down,
   her throng and all who exult in her.
People are bowed down, everyone is brought low,
   and the eyes of the haughty are humbled.
But the Lord of hosts is exalted by justice,
   and the Holy God shows himself holy by righteousness.
Then the lambs shall graze as in their pasture,
   fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins.

Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood,
   who drag sin along as with cart-ropes,
who say, 'Let him make haste,
   let him speed his work
   that we may see it;
let the plan of the Holy One of Israel hasten to fulfilment,
   that we may know it!'
Ah, you who call evil good
   and good evil,
who put darkness for light
   and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
   and sweet for bitter!
Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes,
   and shrewd in your own sight!
Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine
   and valiant at mixing drink,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
   and deprive the innocent of their rights! 

Words: Bernard of Clairvaux, twelfth century;
trans. Edward Caswall, 1849
Tune: Metzler's Redhead, St. Botolph, Bawley, Windsor (Rhythmic), St. Agnes,

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Jesus, the very thought of thee
with sweetness fills the breast;
but sweeter far thy face to see,
and in thy presence rest.

No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
nor can the memory find,
a sweeter sound than Jesus' Name,
the Savior of mankind.

O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
to those who fall, how kind thou art:
how good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
nor tongue nor pen can show;
the love of Jesus, what it is,
none but who love him know.

Jesus, our only joy be thou,
as thou our prize wilt be;
in thee be all our glory now,
and through eternity.

SECOND READING [1 John 4:1-6]:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from
God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the
Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from
God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit
of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the
world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is
in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore
what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God.
Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us.
>From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Almighty God, 
you bring your chosen people together in one communion, 
in the body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  
We rejoice in your light and your peace 
for your whole Church in heaven and on earth.
Lord of mercy:
Lord, hear us.

Give to all who mourn a sure confidence in your loving care, 
that we may cast all our sorrow on you, 
and know the consolation of your love.
Lord of mercy:
Lord, hear us.

Give your faithful people pardon and peace, 
that we may be cleansed from all our sins, 
and serve you with a quiet mind.
Lord of mercy:
Lord, hear us.

Give us strength to meet the days ahead 
in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those you love.
Lord of mercy:
Lord, hear us.

Give to us who are still in our pilgrimage, 
and who walk as yet by faith, 
your Holy Spirit to lead us 
in holiness and righteousness all our days.
Lord of mercy:
Lord, hear us.

May all who have been made one with Christ 
in his death and in his resurrection 
die to sin and rise to newness of life.
Lord of mercy:
Lord, hear us.

Let your goodness, Lord, appear to us,
that we, made in your image,
may conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength we cannot imitate 
your majesty, power and wonder;
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But your mercy reaches from the heavens,
through the clouds, to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with your tiny hands,
embrace us with your tiny arms,
and piece our hearts with your soft, sweet cries. Amen.

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 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. Amen.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

To God the Father,
who first loved us, and made us accepted in the beloved Son;
to God the Son,
who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood;
to God the Holy Spirit, 
who sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts;
to the one true God
be all love and all glory for time and eternity. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer are from _Celebrating Common
Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving is based on a prayer in _Opening Prayers:
Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The first collect is by Bernard of Clairvaux.

The closing sentence is by Thomas Ken.

Bernard, third son of a Burgundian nobleman, was born in 1090. His brothers
were trained as soldiers, but Bernard from youth was destined for scholarship.
One Christmas Eve as a child he had a dream about the infant Christ in the
manger; and the memory of it, and consequent devotion to the mystery of the
Word made flesh, remained with him throughout his life.
Bernard had good prospects of success as a secular scholar, but he began to
believe that he was called to the monastic life, and after a period of prayer for
guidance, he decided at age 22 to enter the monastery of Citeaux, an offshoot
of the Benedictines which had adopted a much stricter rule than theirs, and
became the founding house of the Cistercian order. He persuaded four of his
brothers, one uncle, and 26 other men to join him. They were the first novices
that Citeaux had had for several years. After three years, the abbot ordered
Bernard to take twelve monks and found a new house at La Ferte. The first
year was one of great hardship. They had no stores and lived chiefly on roots
and barley bread. Bernard imposed such severe discipline that his monks
became discouraged, but he realized his error and became more lenient. The
reputation of the monastery, known as Clairvaux, spread across Europe. Many
new monks joined it, and many persons wrote letters or came in person to seek
spiritual advice. By the time of his death, 60 new monasteries of the Cistercian
order were established under his direction.
For four years after 1130 Bernard was deeply involved with a disputed papal
election, championing the claims of Innocent II against his rival Anacletus II.
He travelled throughout France, Germany, and Italy mustering support for his
candidate (and, it should be added, preaching sermons denouncing injustices
done to Jews), and returned from one of these journeys with Peter Bernard of
Paganelli as a postulant for the monastery. The future Pope Eugenius III spent
the next year stoking the monastery fires. Years later, Bernard wrote a major
treatise of advice to Eugenius on the spiritual temptations of spiritual power.

The papal election was not the only dispute in which Bernard became involved.
He was highly critical of Peter Abelard, one of the most brilliant theologians of
the day. Bernard believed that Abelard was too rationalistic in his approach,
and failed to allow sufficiently for the element of mystery in the faith. When
Abelard rejected some of the ways of stating Christian doctrines to which
Bernard was accustomed, Bernard concluded, perhaps too hastily, that this was
equivalent to rejecting the doctrine itself. A conference was scheduled at Sens,
where Abelard's views were to be examined, but soon after it began Abelard
decided that he was not about to get a fair hearing, announced that he was
appealing to Rome, and left. He set out for Rome and got as far as Cluny,
where he stopped. Peter the Venerable, the abbot, was a friend of both Abelard
and Bernard, and managed to reconcile them before they died.
One of Bernard's most influential acts, for better or worse, was his preaching
of the Second Crusade. The First Crusade had given the Christian forces
control of a few areas in Palestine, including the city of Edessa. When Moslem
forces captured Edessa (now called Urfa and located in eastern Turkey) in
1144, King Louis VII of France (not to be confused with St. Louis IX, also a
Crusader, but more than a century later) was eager to launch a crusade to
retake Edessa and prevent a Moslem recapture of Jerusalem. He asked Bernard
for help, and Bernard refused. He then asked the Pope to order Bernard to
preach a Crusade. The pope gave the order, and Bernard preached, with
spectacular results. Whole villages were emptied of able-bodied males as
Bernard preached and his listeners vowed on the spot to head for Palestine and
defend the Sacred Shrines with their lives.
As for the Crusade, things went wrong from the start. The various rulers
leading the movement were distrustful of one another and not disposed to
work together. Of the soldiers who set out (contemporary estimates vary from
100,000 to 1,500,000), most died of disease and starvation before reaching
their goal, and most of the remainder were killed or captured soon after their
arrival. The impact on Bernard was devastating, and so was the impact on
In 1153, Bernard journeyed to reconcile the warring provinces Metz and
Lorraine. He persuaded them to peace and to an agreement drawn up under his
mediation, and then, in failing health, returned home to die.
If Bernard in controversy was fierce and not always fair, it partly because he
was a man of intense feeling and dedication, quick to respond to any real or
supposed threat to what he held sacred. It is his devotional writings, not his
polemical ones, that are still read today. Among the hymns attributed to him
are the Latin originals of "O Sacred Head, sore wounded," "Jesus, the very
thought of Thee," "O Jesus, joy of loving hearts," "Wide open are Thy hands
(to pay with more than gold the awful debt of guilt and sin, forever and of
old--see the Lutheran Book of Worship et alibi)," and "O Jesus, King most
wonderful." His sermons on the Song of Songs, treated as an allegory of the
love of Christ, are his best-known long work. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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