St. Bernard of Clairvaux: The Mellifluous Doctor
Date: March 2014
Duration: 2 hours 3 minutes
Recorded in 1964 at his monastery, Thomas Merton gave these lectures to the novice Cistercians he taught. As you listen to Merton, you will join his students in the classroom.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, O. Cist. (1090–1153) is one of the most important figures in the history of Christianity: a founder, reformer, and Doctor of the Church. Now, you can take Thomas Merton, renowned mystic and follower of St. Bernard, as your guide for exploring the life and theology of St. Bernard.
St. Bernard’s impact on Christianity is wide-reaching: he was the patron saint of the Knights Templar, and he influenced such figures as Hildegard of Bingen. Like St. Bernard, Thomas Merton was a Cistercian, a group of religious men and women devoted to the monastic life.
Founded in 1098 at Cîteaux, the Cistercian Order sought to restore the foundational Rule of St. Benedict. After entering the Cistercian Order, St. Bernard became the Abbot of Clairvaux, where he revived the monastic life. In these talks, Merton examines at The First Life of Bernard, an account of St. Bernard’s life written by his friend William of St-Thierry. He then explores St. Bernard’s conversion story, his letters, and the power of the ascetic life – both in his time and ours.
Those looking to expand their knowledge of the history of Christianity will find this course fascinating. Listen to one great Cistercian speak on another.
This set includes an afterword by Dr. James Finley, one of Merton’s former students at Gethsemani.
Note: These lectures were recorded live in the open-air classrooms of Gethsemani where Merton gave instruction. One of the recordings contains some distortion from the wind.