St Bernard of Clairvaux

Light and Food

“What can so enrich the soul that reflects upon it the holy name of Jesus? What can strengthen the virtues, beget good and honorable dispositions, foster holy affections? Dry is every kind of spiritual food which this oil does not moisten.

Tasteless, whatever this salt does not season.

If you write, your composition has no charms for me, unless I read there the name of Jesus. If you debate or converse, I find no pleasure in your words, unless I hear there the name of Jesus.

Jesus is honey on the lips, melody in the ear, joy in the heart.

Yet not alone is that name light and food. It is also a remedy. Is any one among you sad? Let the name of Jesus enter his heart; let it leap thence to his mouth; and lo! the light shining from that name shall scatter every cloud and restore peace.

Has some one perpetrated a crime, and then misled, moved despairingly towards the snare of death? Let him but invoke this life-giving name, and straightway he shall find courage once more.

Whoever, all a-tremble in the presence of danger, has not immediately felt his spirits revive and his fears depart as soon as he called upon this Name of power? There is nothing so powerful as the Name of Jesus to check anger, reduce the swelling of pride, heal the smarting wound of envy.”

St Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist (1090 – 1153)

In Cantica, Serm. XV, 6