HUGONI, militi Christi et magistro militiae Christi, Bernardus Claraevallis solo nomine abbas: bonum certamen certare Semel,

IF I am not mistaken, my dear Hugh, you have asked me not once or twice, but three times to write a few words of exhortation for you and your comrades. You say that if I am not permitted to wield the lance, at least I might direct my pen against the tyrannical foe, and that this moral, rather than material support of mine will be of no small help to you. I have put you off now for quite some time, not that I disdain your request, but rather lest I be blamed for taking it lightly and hastily. I feared I might botch a task which could be better done by a more qualified hand, and which would perhaps remain, because of me, just as necessary and all the more difficult.

et secundo, et tertio, nisi fallor, petisti a me, Hugo carissime, ut tibi tuis que commilitonibus scriberem exhortationis sermonem, et adversus hostilem tyrannidem, quia lanceam non liceret, stilum vibrarem, asserens vobis non parum fore adiutorii, si quos armis non possum, litteris animarem Distuli sane aliquamdiu, non quod contemnenda videretur petitio, sed ne levis praeceps que culparetur assensio, si quod melius melior implere sufficeret, praesumerem imperitus, et res admodum necessaria per me minus forte commoda redderetur

Having waited thus for quite some time to no purpose, I have now done what I could, lest my inability should be mistaken for unwillingness. It is for the reader to judge the result. If some perhaps find my work unsatisfactory or short of the mark, I shall be nonetheless content, since I have not failed to give you my best.

. Verum videns me longa satis huiuscemodi exspectatione frustratum, ne iam magis nolle quam non posse viderer, tandem ego quidem quod potui feci: lector iudicet, an satisfeci. Quamquam etsi cui forte aut minime placeat, aut non sufficiat, non tamen interest mea, qui tuae pro meo sapere non defui voluntati. I






IT SEEMS THAT A NEW KNIGHTHOOD has recently appeared on the earth, and precisely in that part of it which the Orient from on high visited in the flesh. As he then troubled the princes of darkness in the strength of his mighty hand, so there he now wipes out their followers, the children of disbelief, scattering them by the hands of his mighty ones. Even now he brings about the redemption of his people raising up again a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.

1 Novum militiae genus ortum nuper auditur in terris, et in illa regione, quam olim in carne praesens visitavit Oriens ex alto, ut unde tunc in fortitudine manus suae tenebrarum principes exturbavit, inde et modo ipsorum satellites, filios diffidentiae, in manu fortium suorum dissipatos exterminet, faciens etiam nunc redemptionem plebis suae, et rursum erigens cornu salutis nobis in domo David pueri sui.

This is, I say, a new kind of knighthood and one unknown to the ages gone by. It ceaselessly wages a twofold war both against flesh and blood and against a spiritual army of evil in the heavens. Novum, inquam, militiae genus, et saeculis inexpertum, qua gemino pariter conflictu atque infatigabiliter decertatur, tum adversus carnem et sanguinem, tum contra spiritualia nequitiae in caelestibus

When someone strongly resists a foe in the flesh, relying solely on the strength of the flesh, I would hardly remark it, since this is common enough. And when war is waged by spiritual strength against vices or demons, this, too, is nothing remarkable, praiseworthy as it is, for the world is full of monks.

Et quidem ubi solis viribus corporis corporeo fortiter hosti resistitur, id quidem ego tam non iudico mirum, quam nec rarum existimo. Sed et quando animi virtute vitiis sive daemoniis bellum indicitur, ne hoc quidem mirabile, etsi laudabile dixerim, cum plenus monachis cernatur mundus.

But when the one sees a man powerfully girding himself with both swords and nobly marking his belt, who would not consider it worthy of all wonder, the more so since it has been hitherto unknown? He is truly a fearless knight and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armor of faith just as his body is protected by armor of steel.

Ceterum cum uterque homo suo quisque gladio potenter accingitur, suo cingulo nobiliter insignitur, quis hoc non aestimet omni admiratione dignissimum, quod adeo liquet esse insolitum? Impavidus profecto miles, et omni ex parte securus, qui ut corpus ferri, sic animum fidei lorica induitur.

He is thus doubly armed and need fear neither demons nor men. Not that he fears death--no, he desires it. Why should he fear to live or fear to die when for him to live is Christ, and to die is gain? Gladly and faithfully he stands for Christ, but he would prefer to be dissolved and to be with Christ, by far the better thing. Utrisque nimirum munitus armis, nec daemonem timet, nec hominem.Nec vero mortem formidat, qui mori desiderat. Quid enim vel vivens, vel moriens metuat, cui vivere Christus est, et mori lucrum? Stat quidem fidenter libenter que pro Christo; sed magis cupit dissolvi et esse cum Christo: hoc enim melius.

Go forth confidently then, you knights, and repel the foes of the cross of Christ with a stalwart heart. Know that neither death nor life can separate you from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ, and in every peril repeat, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” What a glory to return in victory from such a battle! How blessed to die there as a martyr! Rejoice, brave athlete, if you live and conquer in the Lord; but glory and exult even more if you die and join your Lord. Life indeed is a fruitful thing and victory is glorious, but a holy death is more important than either. If they are blessed who die in the Lord, how much more are they who die for the Lord!

Securi ergo procedite, milites, et intrepido animo inimicos crucis Christi propellite, certi quia neque mors, neque vita poterunt vos separare a caritate Dei, quae est in Christo Iesu, illud sane vobis cum in omni periculo replicantes: SIVE VIVIMUS, SIVE MORIMUR, DOMINI SUMUS. Quam gloriosi revertuntur victores de proelio! Quam beati moriuntur martyres in proelio! Gaude, fortis athleta, si vivis et vincis in Domino; sed magis exsulta et gloriare, si moreris et iungeris Domino. Vita quidem fructuosa, et victoria gloriosa; sed utrique mors sacra iure praeponitur. Nam si BEATI QUI IN DOMINO MORIUNTUR, non multo magis qui pro Domino moriuntur?

2. To be sure, precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his holy ones, whether they die in battle or in bed, but death in battle is more precious as it is the more glorious. How secure is life when the conscience is unsullied! How secure, I say, is life when death is anticipated without fear; or rather when it is desired with feeling and embraced with reverence! 2 Et quidem sive in lecto, sive in bello quis moritur, pretiosa erit sine dubio in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum eius. Ceterum in bello tanto profecto pretiosior, quanto et gloriosior. O vita secura, ubi pura conscientia! O, inquam, vita secura, ubi absque formidine mors exspectatur, immo et exoptatur cum dulcedine, et excipitur cum devotione!

How holy and secure this knighthood and how entirely free of the double risk run by those men who fight not for Christ! Whenever you go forth, O worldly warrior, you must fear lest the bodily death of your foe should mean your own spiritual death, or lest perhaps your body and soul together should be slain by him.

O vere sancta et tuta militia, atque a duplici illo periculo prorsus libera, quo id hominum genus solet frequenter periclitari, ubi dumtaxat Christus non est causa militandi. Quoties namque congrederis tu, qui militiam militas saecularem, timendum omnino, ne aut occidas hostem quidem in corpore, te vero in anima, aut forte tu occidaris ab illo, et in corpore simul, et in anima

Indeed, danger or victory for a Christian depends on the dispositions of his heart and not on the fortunes of war. If he fights for a good reason, the issue of his fight can never be evil; and likewise the results can never be considered good if the reason were evil and the intentions perverse. If you happen to be killed while you are seeking only to kill another, you die a murderer. If you succeed, and by your will to overcome and to conquer you perchance kill a man, you live a murderer. Now it will not do to be a murderer, living or dead, victorious or vanquished. What an unhappy victory--to have conquered a man while yielding to vice, and to indulge in an empty glory at his fall when wrath and pride have gotten the better of you!

Ex cordis nempe affectu, non belli eventu, pensatur vel periculum, vel victoria christiani Si bona fuerit causa pugnantis, pugnae exitus malus esse non poterit, sicut nec bonus iudicabitur finis, ubi causa non bona, et intentio non recta praecesserit. Si in voluntate alterum occidendi te potius occidi contigerit, moreris homicida. Quod si praevales, et voluntate superandi vel vindicandi forte occidis hominem, vivis homicida. Non autem expedit sive mortuo, sive vivo, sive victori, sive victo, esse homicidam. Infelix victoria, qua superans hominem, succumbis vitio et, ira tibi aut superbia dominante, frustra gloriaris de homine superato. Est tamen qui nec ulciscendi zelo, nec vincendi typho, sed tantum evadendi remedio interficit hominem.

But what of those who kill neither in the heat of revenge nor in the swelling of pride, but simply in order to save themselves? Even this sort of victory I would not call good, since bodily death is really a lesser evil than spiritual death. The soul need not die when the body does. No, it is the soul which sins that shall die.

Sed ne hanc quidem bonam dixerim victoriam, cum de duobus malis, in corpore quam in anima mori levius sit. Non autem quia corpus occiditur, etiam anima moritur; sed ANIMA, QUAE PECCAVERIT, IPSA MORIETUR. II

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