Aug 20, 2006 / 22:00 pm
Christians must guard against the dangers of excessive activity and busyness, regardless of their state of life or occupation, in order to protect themselves from developing “hardness of heart,” said Pope Benedict XVI yesterday, borrowing from 12th-century Cistercian monk and Doctor of the Church St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
The Pontiff, speaking to a crowd of faithful gathered to pray the Angelus at his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, noted that Sunday marked the feast of St. Bernard (1091-1153), who served as abbot of the famed monastery of Clairvaux for 38 years.
Excessive busyness leads to spiritual suffering, loss of intelligence and the loss of grace, the saint had written in his text called De consideratione, which was addressed to Pope Eugene III and which focused on the importance of the interior life. This applies to all occupations, including those within the Church, the saint had said.
St. Bernard knew how to harmonize the contemplative life with important missionary work, the Pope noted. However, the saint’s strict observance of silence and contemplation did not impede him from living a very intense apostolic life, the Pope observed. His humility and his commitment to tame his impetuous temperament were exemplary, he said.
The Pope also highlighted the saint’s focus on the truth that God, who is love, created mankind out of love and that man’s salvation consists of adhering firmly to Divine love, revealed through the crucified and risen Christ.
The richness of St. Bernard’s preaching and his theology were not in pursuing new paths, the Pope said, but in succeeding to propose the truth of the faith in a clear and incisive way so as to fascinate the listener and lead the person to prayer.