Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO
June 14, 2016
Feast of Blessed Gerard
The Cistercian rite used to keep today’s feast on January 30th, and if we look into the Cistercian Menology for that date, we can get an idea of what used to be read in the refectory on January 30th:
“On this day is celebrated the feast of Blessed Gerard, brother of our Father St. Bernard. Gerard had long resisted all the other admonitions of his saintly younger brother and, as the latter had foretold, was wounded, taken prisoner, and later miraculously set at liberty. He then accompanied Bernard to Cîteaux and Clairvaux, where he was appointed procurator. He discharged this office with no less energy than prudence and humility. ‘The Lord had schooled his tongue for speech’ (cf. Isaiah 50:4) so that he knew what to say and how.
“He was careful for the holy leisure of his illustrious brother. Gerard would meet those who presented themselves at the monastery. This he did in order that those for whom he could himself provide would not disturb his abbot’s contemplation.
“Accompanying his holy abbot on one of his trips, Gerard fell gravely ill at Viterbo but, at Bernard’s prayer, regained his health for a time. Having returned to Clairvaux, he suffered a relapse, and his saintly soul, amid the delight and jubilation of spiritual joy, was released from the prison of the body on June 13, 1138.
“Although others shed tears at his burial, St Bernard, who presided, remained dry-eyed, lest he appear to mourn him as dead whom he knew to have passed from death to life everlasting. Afterwards, however, when he continued his Sermons on the Song of Songs, he was overcome with grief and, as the tears of his reasonable sorrow gushed forth, gave expression to a holy lament for the brother whom he had lost, whom he had so loved, and who had been so indispensable to him.”