Saint Bernard of Clairvaux lived from 1090-1153. He was a French abbot and one of the founders of the Cistercian Order. Although he was busy with the needs of running a large monastery, he found time to compose many spiritual works that still resonate today. He laid a solid foundation for spiritual life in his works on grace, free will, humility, and love. Dying in August 1153, he was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. Pope Pius VII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1830.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux gives us these inspiring words:

To lose yourself, as if you no longer existed, to cease completely to experience yourself, to reduce yourself to nothing is not a human sentiment but a divine experience…

It is deifying to go through such an experience. As a drop of water seems to disappear completely in a big quantity of wine, even assuming the wine’s taste and color, just as red, molten iron becomes so much like fire it seems to lose its primary state; just as the air on a sunny day seems transformed into a sunshine instead of being lit up; so it is necessary for the saints that all human feelings melt in a mysterious way and flow into the will of God. Otherwise, how will God be all in all if something human survives in man?