A letter from Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot (1130-32?)
I have received the delights of my heart, your peace. I am happy that you are reported to be happy, and your obvious eagerness restores me in spirit to a great degree. This happiness certainly is not of flesh and blood, since you live humble from sublime, obscure from well-born, poor from wealthy, deprived of the consolation of brother, son, and fatherland. Without doubt therefore, what eagerness you have came from the Holy Spirit. Indeed you have for a long time brought forth the spirit of salvation, conceiving it from the fear of God, with charity sending the fear out. O how much more willingly I would speak this to you in person than I write it absent! Believe me, I am angered by the occupations that so frequently hinder me from seeing you and I am delighted by the occasions on which I seem to be freed to see you. This kind of opportunity is rarely given but that rarity is, I confess, dear to me. For it is certainly better to see you sometimes than never at all. I hope that I will come to you soon, I am already beginning to taste that future joy fully and closely.
Recepi delicias cordis mei, pacem tui. Laetus sum, quia tu laeta nuntiaris, meque admodum animo reddit incolumem tua innotescens alacritas. Haec nimirum laetitia nil habet de carne et sanguine, cum humilis ex sublimi, ex ingenua ignobilis, pauper ex divite vivas, fratris, filii patriaeque destituta solatio. Sine dubio ergo quod in te alacritatis natum est, de Spiritu Sancto est. Quippe iamdudum a timore Dei concipiens, parturisti tandem spiritum salutis, foras utique mittente caritate timorem. O quam libentius ista praesens colloquerer quam scribo absens! Crede mihi, irascor occupationibus quibus frequenter impediri videor ne te videam, et delector occasionibus quibus vel interdum expediri videor, ut te videam. Rara quidem datur huiusmodi opportunitas; sed cara, fateor, est mihi vel ipsa raritas. Est enim sane melius videre te vel nonnumquam quam numquam omnino. Spero me in proximo venturum ad te, iam nunc praelibans gaudium proxime pleneque futurum.
Bernard prises Ermengard's adoption of the religious life and laments his inability to be with her.
Sancti Bernardi Opera, ed. J. LeClercq and H. Rochais (Rome: Eds. Cisterciennes, 1979), ep.117