Bernard

I had a cousin named Bernard Hansen.  He was born two days before my mother, his aunt, in 1912.  He married my aunt Mildred my father’s sister.  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 well described Bernard or “Cy,” as he was known.

He was a milk hauler in the days when milk was picked up on the farms in cans and hauled to the creamery or cheese factory.  In winter the trucks were equipped with a snowplow.  The milk haulers were usually the first to plow open the town roads and farm driveways.

The Bernard the church remembers today was born to an affluent Burgundy family in 1090. He died in 1153.  He was Abbot of Clairvaux.  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.”   

Of course, he wrote in Latin.  We sing “O Sacred Head” on Good Friday to a setting by J.S. Bach of a 16th century tune.

O sacred Head, now wounded,

With grief and shame weighed down

Now scornfully surrounded

With thorns, Thine only crown

O sacred Head, what glory,

What bliss, till now was Thine!

Yet, though despised and glory,

I joy to call Thee mine. 

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