Horses and Great Silence

“They are difficult horses for mortal men to manage...” Great Books and Horses by Glenn Arbery from The Imaginative Conservative points out how one cannot fully appreciate many of the classics unless one has actually spent some time with horses, seen them stamp their hooves into the dust and rear high above a man’s head. Arbery also considers the part that the ability to control/tame one’s horses plays in proving strength, both physically and spiritually speaking, in literature throughout history.

In the period spanning some one hundred years from around mid-eleventh century, there suddenly appear a number of silent, cowl-clad figures whose robes are novel additions to the ranks of religious habits, but who only followed the oldest precepts of perfection seeking. Such names come to mind as Robert of Molesme, Alberic, Stephen Harding, and Bernard of Clairvaux and co. (who famously turned up at the door of what was thought to be the dying monastic community of Citeaux and who pumped such blood into the Order that its name would forever be engraved in Church history with golden letters!). Side-by-side on the same stage as these emerges Saint Bruno, skull in hand, founder of the austere Carthusian Order which is most well known for its characteristic of “great silence.” Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites’ post, Princes and Popes Coveted the Advice of this Silent Man tells the story of the erudite saint who seemed to spend his life fleeing position and titles in the hope of solitude and silence with God.

It was not Saint Bruno’s vocation to be a disciple of St. Robert, but that he should establish his own order in the mountains. However, it was Saint Bernard’s to not only remain a Cistercian, but to become an abbot and the most illustrious of his order. Love of Bridegroom & Bride is a beautiful excerpt from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux’s sermon on the Canticle of Canticles, presented here by Crossroads Initiative. “Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be.”

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