Saint Bernard Subdues the Duke of Aquitaine

July 13, 2017

St. Bernard of Clairvaux and William X Duke Of Aquitaine, painted by
Maarten Pepyn.

When the Saint went as a legate to the same province, in order to reconcile the Duke of Aquitaine to the Church, the Duke refused absolutely to be reconciled. Then the man of God went to the altar to celebrate the Mass, while the Duke, as an excommunicate, stood without the doors. And when the Saint had said the Pax Domini, he laid the Body of the Lord upon the paten, and taking It with him went outside the church, with fiery countenance and flaming eyes, and assailed the Count with terrible words. “We have besought thee,” he said, “and thou hast spurned us! Behold now there comes to thee the Son of the Virgin, He Who is the Lord of the Church which thou persecutes! Here is thy Judge, in Whose name every knee shall bow! Here is thy Judge, into Whose hands that soul of thine shall fall! Wilt thou despise Him as thou hast despised His servants? Withstand Him if thou canst!” Straightway the Duke was bathed in sweat, and trembled in all his members; and he fell at the Saint’s feet. Bernard then touched him with his shoe, and ordered him to rise and hear the sentence of God. And the Duke arose all atremble, and henceforth did all that the holy man commanded.

Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, trans. Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger (New York: Arno Press, 1969), 475.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 583



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