Bernard of Clairvaux, the twelfth-century monk who wrote that "Jesus is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, a cry of joy in the heart," was both a mystic and a reformer. His writings reveal a mystical theology that Thomas Merton, a monastic heir to Bernard's Cistercian reform, says "explains what it means to be united to God in Christ but (also) shows the meaning of the whole economy of our redemption in Christ." Critical of the monastic opulence of his times, Bernard exhorted his monks to consider that "Salt with hunger is seasoning enough for a man living soberly and wisely." Martin Luther believed that Bernard was "the best monk that ever lived, whom I admire beyond all the rest put together."
Bernard's zeal and charisma led to the reform of Christian life in medieval Europe. Today it is reported that Pope Benedict XVI keeps Bernard's treatise "Advice to a Pope "close at hand for spiritual support. "Honey and Salt "is an original selection for the general reader of Bernard's sermons, treatises, and letters.
About the Author
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) stands among the rare handful of men and women gifted with true insight into the unseen, supernatural world. Known throughout the medieval church as a "spiritual doctor," he was given both a spectacular vision of angels and the wisdom to understand their purposes among men.
A former publishing executive, John F. Thornton is a literary agent and co-editor of Tongues of Angels, Tongues of Men: A Book of Sermons. He lives in New York City.
Susan B. Varenne holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is a New York City teacher and a freelance writer specializing in religion.