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Some Letters Of Saint Bernard Abbot Of Clairvaux by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

LETTER XX (circa A.D. 1130) To Guy, Abbot of Molêsmes

To Guy, Abbot of Molêsmes

Bernard consoles him under a great injustice which he had suffered, and recommends him to temper his vengeance with mercy.

God who knows the hearts of all men, and is the inspirer of all good dispositions, knows with what sympathy I condole with you in this your adversity, of which I have heard. But, again, when I consider rather the person who has caused you this trial than Him who permits it, just as much as I feel with you in the present misfortune, so much I hope soon to rejoice with you in the prosperity which must speedily come. But only do not let yourself be at all crushed by discouragement; think with me how, by the example of holy Job, you ought to receive with the same cheerfulness troubles from the hand of the Lord as you do blessings. Indeed, you ought, after the example of holy David, not so much to be angry with those people who have caused you such great sufferings, although they are your own servants, as to know that you ought to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, who doubtless has sent them to bring about this misfortune to you. But since it appears that their correction devolves upon you, as they are serfs of the Church committed to your government, it is proper that these unfaithful serfs should be punished for their very wicked presumption, and that the loss of the monastery should be recompensed in some degree out of their goods. But that you may not seem rather to be avenging your own injury in this than punishing their fault; I beg you and also advise you not to think so much of what they deserve as what is fitting for you to do, so that mercy may be exalted above strict justice, and that in your moderation God may be glorified. For the rest, I beg you to press upon that your son, who is dear to me as well for your sake as in a great degree for his own, with your own lips, as with my spirit, not to show in his accusations a bitterness and a violence such as prove that he forgets that precept of our Lord -- Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also (S. Matt. v.39).

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