Bernard of clairvaux virginity humility

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Bernard wrote to queens and princesses: he never applies to Mary the idea he had of their power, which was, in fact, very limited, except in instances of regency or of a queen with a strong personality exercising personal influence over the king. The image of the queen-mother is more unusual, and also more original and expressive. It too suggests personal influence, but respects the unique transcendence of the person in power.

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Saint Bernard of Clairvaux was born in the year When he was twenty-two years old, he joined the Cistercian Order at Citeaux. He brought with him thirty companions, among whom were his father, his uncle and four of his brothers.

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The depiction is mentioned by Pope Gregory the Greatand a mosaic depiction probably of the 12th century is on the facade of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, though few other examples survive from before the late Middle Ages. It continued to be found in Orthodox icons as Galaktotrophousa in Greek, Mlekopitatelnitsa in Russianespecially in Russia. Usage of the depiction seems to have revived with the Cistercian Order in the 12th century, as part of the general upsurge in Marian theology and devotion.

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Be it unto me according to your word. James Mary replies then with humility, that the dwelling of grace may be prepared. How sublime is this humility, which is incapable of yielding to the weight of honors, or of being rendered proud by them!

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You do a nice job here drawing on the themes that we talked about in class, and in particular placing Bernard's homilies in the context of what we said about the Cistercians as an order. Was there anything in the homilies that you saw that we did not talk about that you think deserves further attention? Are you persuaded that it is Mary's humility that matters most to Bernard?

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You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

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Bernard not only interprets, but also embodies or actualizes the figure of the bride, generating images of celibacy as erotic pleasure and monks as fecund and female. Through his performance, Bernard provides a hermeneutical model on which he patterns himself and his audience, the Cistercian choir monk. By appropriating femaleness, Bernard transformed the Cistercian cloister into an inverted world that anticipated eschatological restoration and salvation.

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This homily excerpt of St. Bernard is in the Office of Readings for December 20, the fourth week of Advent. You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit.

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Beautiful commingling of virginity with humility! That soul is in no small degree pleasing to God, in whom humility commends virginity, and virginity adorns humility. But how much more worthy of veneration is she, in whom fecundity exalts humility, and child-bearing consecrates virginity.

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