Prayer, Plain and Simple

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) was a French monk and the inspirational leader behind the Cistercian monastic movement. The Cistercians were influential in reawakening the need for practical work in the world back the Western Christianity. Bernard taught that followers of Jesus should have skills in gardening, farming, architecture, and caring for animals. His prayers, while directed to God and hoping for heaven also expressed a yearning for a relationship with God down-to-earth and here and now. Here’s are 5 of the 14 verses of a prayer often credited to Bernard:

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blessed Name,
O Savior of mankind!

O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

O Jesus, light of all below,
Thou fount of living fire,
Surpassing all the joys we know,
And all we can desire.

Abide with us, and let Thy light
Shine, Lord, on every heart;
Dispel the darkness of our night;
And joy to all impart.

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