Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pope: Man seeks and finds God better with prayer than with reason

» 10/21/2009 12:48

General audience, Benedict XVI illustrates the figure of Bernard of Clairvaux, the last of the Fathers of the Church. He expressed man's participation in the love of God, he devoted himself particularly to the figures of Jesus and Mary and not coincidentally is the one to whom Dante entrusts the prayer to Mary in Paradise. He fought the heresy of the Cathars and antisemitism.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We too must recognize that man looks for and finds God better and more easily in prayer than in discussion”: this is the teaching that Benedict XVI has drawn from the life and works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, "called the last of the Fathers of the Church," the figure to whom he devoted his catechesis today in the general audience.

Speaking to almost 40 thousand people in St. Peter's Square, the pope recalled the figure of the great Monk for whom "sometimes we claim to have resolved the fundamental questions about God, about man and the world with the powers of reason alone," but "without a deep faith in God, nourished by prayer and contemplation, from an intimate relationship with the Lord, our reflections on the divine mysteries are in danger of becoming a futile intellectual exercise, and lose their credibility".

Born in 1090 in Fontaines in France to a "numerous and fairly well-off," family Bernard studied grammar, rhetoric and dialectic and at 20 entered the monastery of Citeaux, "a new more agile monastic foundation, but also more rigorous” than the existing ones of the time, "At only 25 years of age he chose monastic life" and "looking at the lives of other monasteries called for a sober and measured lifestyle in eating and clothing and recommended care for the poor." In 1130 he began an "extensive correspondence with many” important but humble people. To these letters, many sermons, judgements and treaties must be added. He also began "to deal with serious problems of the Holy See and the Church."

Benedict XVI then recalled, "especially his polemical writings” and in particular those against the heresy of the Cathars who despised the material and the human body and thus despised the Creator." Instead he defended the Jews, so much so that a rabbi, Ephraim, "addressed a stirring tribute” to him. “His sermons on the Song of Songs are renowned" and "also a very special for a pupil of his, Bernardo Pignatelli, who became Pope Eugenius III, on how to be a good pope, it remains obligatory reading for all popes". He died in 1153.

See also:

VIS-Press release, "Bernard of Clairvaux, Last of the Church Fathers"

From CNA, "
Understanding the Faith requires friendship with Christ, Pope says"

And from YouTube-Vatican's Channel:

Theology without faith is a mere intellectual exercise
September 21, 2009


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