Vatican City, Dec 2, 2009 / 11:42 am (CNA).- In today's general audience, Pope Benedict XVI delved into the life and teachings of William of St. Thierry, a Cistercian monk who wrote extensively about the nature of love.
Today's audience continues the Pope's tradition of tracing the history of the Church beginning with the Apostles and continuing on with the Doctors of the Church and many influential saints throughout the ages.
William of St. Thierry was a friend of Bernard of Clairvaux and helped reform monasticism in the 12th century. He also wrote prolifically on monastic theology and on love, which, he claims, “is the principal force that moves the human soul.”
William was a member of a noble family and was educated at one of the most famous schools of the time. He became a Benedictine and entered the Monastery of Saint-Nicaise in Reims. He then became abbot at the Monastery of Saint-Thierry, where he was unable to institute the reforms he desired. He abandoned the Benedictines and became a Cistercian at the Abbey of Signy, where he continued to write.
One of William's fundamental ideas, the Pope said, is found in his "De Natura et Dignitate Amoris" (The Nature and the Dignity of Love). This idea is that “The principal force that moves the human soul is love. The truth is that only one task is entrusted to each human being: learning to love sincerely, authentically and freely.”
See also from Asia News, "Pope: Only love for God and neighbour gives meaning to our choices."