St. Bernard’s On Consideration reminds the pastor that love for God and a rich life of prayer must precede any action in the temporal sphere—regardless of the distractions and temptations of his office. Originally written for his friend and former disciple, Pope Eugenius III, On Consideration remains a favorite of popes even to this day and was highly praised by John Calvin. St. Bernard’s meditations are an enduring source of inspiration for all pastors.
“Patience is not good, if, when you may be free, you allow yourself to become a slave” (Pages 18–19)
“And first of all consider the word. I do not wish it to be regarded as exactly synonymous with contemplation, because the latter is concerned with the certainty of things, the former more fitly with their investigation. Accordingly, contemplation may be defined as the soul’s true unerring intuition, or as the unhesitating apprehension of truth. But consideration is thought earnestly directed to research, or the application of the mind to the search for truth; though in practice the two terms are indifferently used for one another.” (Page 41)
“Few pay attention to Prudence because few possess it. So Justice seeks, Prudence finds, Fortitude frees, Temperance possesses.” (Page 30)
“Love, by its very nature, is lowly enough; it needs no prompting to kindness, seeks no reward for obedience, sets no bounds to its respect.” (Page 11)
“And this consideration of yourself falls into three divisions, if you consider what, who, and what manner of man, you are. The first refers to your nature, the second to your person, and the third to your character.” (Page 43)
St. Bernard of Clairvaux was a French abbot and had a hand in the reforming Cistercian order.