Loving Knowledge of God: Bernard of Clairvaux

experience god knowing loving relationship Sep 09, 2020

There is a difference between knowing about someone and really knowing them. I know plenty about many public figures, but I know my wife of thirty-five years in a much deeper and more substantial way.


A practical difference between knowing about and knowing deeply is a matter of loving relationship. I know which of these I want in relation with God.


I love these words of Thomas Merton describing Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) and his passion for the latter:


“Blazing with a holy impatience [Bernard of Clairvaux’s] humility armed itself against the pride of the worldly wise, and strove to rouse them from their banquet of ashes…upon which they feasted in their blind curiosity. He would call men [and women] from the husks of swine to the school of Christ where they would not merely learn about God but would come to know God Himself in the ineffable love of Christ. Bernard would not merely instruct them, but as a minister of Christ he would give them the Holy Ghost.”*


There is a way of Christian teaching and speaking that is little more than giving information about God. But there is such a difference between that and actually giving God’s Spirit to people. People need more than ideas. They need encounters and experiences with God by the enabling power of God’s Spirit.


We are a people in and among whom Christ is making Himself at home. We are offering more than just words. We offer real life. This is the spirit of what Jesus says:


“‘Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. (John 7:38-39a).”


It is my hope that this is what happens in what we offer here at Unhurried Living. We are always seeking to serve in this Spirit in the books we write, the resources we develop, and the Community we are developing.


We seek to provide uncluttered space and unhurried time for people to literally receive Christ. We don’t want people to merely “learn about God”, but to “know God in the ineffable love of Christ.”


For Reflection

  • When has your experience of God been more of a “knowing about?”
  • When has your experience of God been more rooted in loving and interactive relationship?
  • How would you like to enjoy that loving relationship today?


*Thomas Merton. Disputed Questions. New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1953, 1959, 1960, p. 283.


Photo by Rob Mulally on Unsplash