I had a cousin from my mother’s side of the family, named Bernard. He was born two days before my mother, his aunt, in 1912. He married my aunt Mildred from my father’s side. One day when I went to visit their son, Monte, who was both a first and second cousin, my aunt Mildred said, “Monte, I hope you grow up sometime, because your father never will.” That pretty well described my cousin Bernard or “Cy,” as he was known. With good reason we much younger cousins enjoyed being around him.
He was a milk hauler in the days when milk was picked up at the farms in cans and boosted up into the truck before being hauled to the creamery or cheese factory. It was great fun going with “Cy.” Monte and I would try our best to pull the can out of the tank of cold water. Most of the time the suction was too great for us. Then we usually couldn’t quite get them boosted into truck bed. In the winter the trucks were equipped with a snowplow. The milk haulers were usually the first to plow open town roads and farm driveways.
The Bernard the church remembers today and he died in 1153. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux was a man of great spiritual depth. He was born in 1090 to an affluent Burgundy family. At age 22 he entered the monastery at Citeaux and two years later started a new monastery at Clairvaux. He was known for his charity work and political ability. But his preaching and hymn writing are what make him particularly memorable.
Two hymns in LSB are attributed to him, “O Jesus King Most Wonderful” and “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.” ”Jesus, the very thought of Thee,” possibly another of his hymns is found in TLH.
He devoted much of his writing to the humanity of Christ. His sermon on the Song of Solomon treats that Old Testament book as an allegory of Christ’s love for humanity.
I’m including two stanzas of “O Jesus, King Most Wonderful,”
When once You visit darkened hearts,
Then truth begins to shine,
Then earthly vanity departs,
Then kindles love divine.
O Jesus light of all below,
The fount of life and fire,
Surpassing all the joys we know,
All that we can desire.