This was St Bernard’s first book: a very striking commentary on the seventh chapter of the Rule of St Benedict, which the young abbot of Clairvaux wrote down only because his monks begged him to, so amazed were they at its depth and beauty. The seventh chapter of the Rule is concerned with the twelve degrees of humility: twelve rungs of a mystic ladder, with the two sides composed of the body and the soul. For it is only through humility that we come to true self-knowledge, which, in turn, leads us to Christ: the perfect model of humility. Thus, to live a life of humility is to live a life united to Christ. The second part of this little book is an analysis of the degrees of pride, the downward path that leads to alienation from God and, ultimately, to damnation. This tour de force of medieval spirituality is characteristic of the legendary powers of observation of a great saint, often referred to as the last of the Fathers of the Church.
Saint Austin Press, 2001. Softcover, 87 pp.