The Cistercian reformer had a beautiful prayer that helps set the tone for a prayerful Christmas.
Born in the 11th century, Bernard of Clairvaux is known for his powerful reforms of the Cistercian order and his inspiring holiness of life. In fact, all his brothers and even his father later joined him in the monastery.
Bernard led a very austere life, dedicating every ounce of his energy to prayer and fasting. This facilitated a deep spiritual life, and he was later recognized as a “Doctor of the Church.”
Below is a short and beautiful prayer from St. Bernard that helps set the mood for a prayerful Christmas, gazing tenderly at the newborn babe lying in the manager.
Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we,
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.