Unveiling the Mystery: Bernard of Clairvaux's Mystical Journey

Have you ever yearned for a deeper connection with something beyond yourself? If so, you might resonate with the journey of Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th-century monk who became a towering figure in Christian mysticism. But fear not, fellow seekers! While Bernard's writings might seem intimidating at first, let's explore his mystical methods in a way that sparks not confusion, but inspiration.

Beyond Formulas, a Dance with Divine Love:

Unlike some thinkers who rely heavily on reason, Bernard emphasized "amor," love, as the key to experiencing the divine. This wasn't just an emotional high; it was a transformative, intimate encounter with God. Think of it as a dance, not a lecture. Through prayer, meditation, and contemplation, Bernard sought to move closer to God, shedding intellectual constructs and embracing the mystery.

From Scripture to Song: Unveiling Hidden Depths:

Bernard was a master at interpreting the Bible, not just literally, but also on a deeper, symbolic level. He used the Song of Songs, a poetic love poem, as a springboard to express the passionate encounter between the soul and God. Words like "kiss," "embrace," and "yearning" took on new meaning, painting a vivid picture of the soul's desire for divine union.

Contemplation: Stepping Aside to Let God In:

While prayer involved actively talking to God, contemplation meant quiet, receptive silence. Imagine yourself stepping aside, clearing your mind, and creating a space for God to shine through. For Bernard, this wasn't about emptying your mind completely, but about focusing on God with such intensity that distractions faded away. In this receptive state, he believed, the soul could taste the sweetness of God's presence, even if it remained ineffable, beyond words.

The Ladder of Ascent: A Guide for Every Seeker:

Bernard wasn't just a mystic; he was also a practical guide. His "Ladder of Ascent" outlined seven steps, from self-awareness and repentance to joy and contemplation. It wasn't meant to be climbed quickly, but rather a lifelong journey of growth and transformation.

Remember, fellow traveler: Bernard's mysticism wasn't just for monks and scholars. His message is open to anyone who yearns for a deeper connection with something beyond themselves. While his methods might seem challenging, they offer a profound invitation to open our hearts, embrace mystery, and embark on our own unique dance with the divine.