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.
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