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A letter from Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot (1142)

Translated letter: 

You see how much I presume with you, who dare to commend others. I may, however, commend these premonstratensian brothers more superfluously than boldly. For they so commend themselves by their merits that they have no need for another [to do it]. They will be found, unless I am mistaken, men of counsel, fervent in spirit, patient in tribulation, powerful in deed and word. They have dressed themselves in the armor of God and girded themselves with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. Receive them as pacific warriors, gentle to men, violent to demons. Or rather receive Christ in them, who is the cause of their pilgrimage.

Original letter: 

Videtis quantum praesumam de vobis, qui audeo etiam alios commendare. Quamquam Praemonstratenses fratres istos magis fortassis superflue commendarim quam temerarie. Sunt merito ita commendabiles suo, ut non egeant alieno. Invenientur, nisi fallor, viri consilii, "spiritu ferventes, in tribulatione patientes," potentes in opere et sermone. Induerunt se armatura Dei et gladio Spiritus, quod est verbum Dei, sese accinxerunt, non "adversus carnem et sanguinem, sed contra spiritualia nequitiae in caelestibus." Suscipite illos tamquam bellatores pacificos, mansuetos ad homines, violentos ad daemones. Immo Christum in eis Suscipite, qui est causa peregrinationis eorum.

Historical context: 

Bernard commends to the queen brothers from his order who are travelling to the holy land.

Printed source: 

Sancti Bernardi Opera, ed. J. LeClercq and H. Rochais (Rome: Eds. Cisterciennes, 1979), v.8, ep.355

date

1142