Saint Bernard the Wonderworker : The Failure of the Second Crusade
The expedition, which was confirmed by signs and miracles, came to a disastrous end, and the Christian soldiers perished, defeated by the infidels, by the just judgment of God, and Saint Bernard, whom before all men honored exceedingly, was condemned as an impostor and a false prophet.
On that on that very day, when the news came of the destruction of the Christian army, God wrought a miracle at the intercession of Saint Bernard. “It came to pass, however, that when the lamentable tidings of the destruction of the Crusaders resounded through France, a father brought his blind boy to the servant of God, to have sight restored to him, and, by many prayers, prevailed on the saint who declined. The saint, placing his hand on the child, prayed to our Lord that He would be pleased to make known, by restoring sight to the child, whether the preaching of the Crusade was from Him, and whether His spirit was with himself. While, after praying, he was waiting its effects, the child said, what am I to do? for I see then a great shout was raised by those who were present ; for many were present, not of the monks only, but of people living in the world, who, when they perceived that the boy saw, were greatly comforted, and gave thanks to God.”
Saint Bernard thus writes on the subject: “If one of two things must take place, then I prefer that men should murmur against us, and not against God. It is, good for me that He is pleased to use me as a shield. I am ready to receive all the biting reproaches of my accusers. We said peace, and there was no peace; we promised good things, but behold confusion.” He then says in his own defense : “As if we had acted with rashness or levity in the matter. We went forward openly in it, not as if it were a doubtful matter, at thy bidding, namely, Eugenius the Pope, or rather at the bidding of God through thee.” Then stating the reproaches of the people; “Whence can we know that the word has gone forth from our Lord ; what miracles dost thou do that we may believe thee?” He answers as follows, addressing Eugenius : It is not for me to reply to this, spare me. Answer thou for me, and for thyself according to what thou hast seen and heard.” In these words he modestly admits that he had wrought miracles in confirmation of his preaching. No question could, or can be raised as to the truth of the revelation and prophecy, but the most high and unchangeable truth of God was not understood by man; the counsel of men was one thing, that of God another, men had proposed to themselves as their object the subjugation of Jerusalem, for their thoughts are of the earth, glory, and wealth, and God, the eternal salvation of those who, in that expedition, had died for the faith and the Church.
John the venerable abbot of Casamare, made the matter known to Saint Bernard in a letter, in which he writes thus : “I have been informed, my most dear brother, that thou art greatly grieved at this affair I speak of the expedition to Jerusalem that it has not prospered according to thy wish, and that the Church and glory of God have not increased as thou desirest.” Then saying that the matter succeeded not according to the wishes of men, but the counsel of God, he thus proceeds : ” But do not doubt what I am going to say, I make it known as to my spiritual father in confession. The patrons of this place of ours, the Blessed John and Paul, have frequently visited us, and I have questioned them on this subject ; they replied and said, that a multitude of angels who have fallen had been restored in the persons of those who fell there.”
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Saint Bernard the wonder worker, excerpts from the Life and Times of Saint Bernard by Abbot Theodore Ratisbonne and Heroic Virtue: A Portion of the Treatise of Benedict XIV on the Beatification and Canonization of the Servants of God Volume III.
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