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Bernard of Clairvaux (1)

Introduction to the Author


Bernard was one of the great leaders in the history of the Church. He was an eloquent speaker and considered by many to be one of the holiest individuals who ever lived. He grew up in Dijon, France, and at the age of twenty-two, entered as a novice in the monastery of Cîteaux. Three years later he was appointed to supervise a group of his fellow monks in the newly founded monastery of Clairvaux. Though he was offered high positions in the church, Bernard remained at Clairvaux until his death.

 Thanks to careful preservation over the centuries, many of Bernard’s writings have survived today. His works had a profound influence on both Martin Luther and John Calvin. The following reading is taken from his well-known work, his treatise On the Love of God. In it Bernard incisively outlines his famous “four degrees of love.”

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