The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedJean Danielou
Title QuotedPlatonisme et theologie mystique. Essay sur la doctrine spirituelle de Saint Gregoire de Nysse
Date (Year/Month/Day)1950/10/09
Imprint[S.l.] : Bibliothèque de l'ecole de Chartres. 1944
QuotationI wish I could give you some information on St. Bernard in his relation to the Greek Fathers. I have none of my own; the topic interests me but I have barely begun to do anything about it, since I know the Greek Fathers so poorly. However, I can tell you this much: in Danielou's Platonisme et T.M. on pages and 211 there are references to St. Bernard's dependence (?) on St. Gregory of Nyssa. The opening of St. Bernard's series of Sermons obviously reflects the idea of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa that the Canticle of Canticles was for the formation of mystics while Proverbs and Ecclesiastes applied to the beginners and progressives. I find Bernard's echo of this point an interesting piece of evidence that he considered the monastic vocation a remote call to mystical union"”if not a proximate one. Then, too, Gregory's homilies on the Canticle of Canticles are full of a tripartite division of souls into slaves, mercenaries and spouses. Gregory's apophatism is not found in St. Bernard, but in his positive treatment of theology Bernard follows Origen. I think Fr. Danielou also told me that Bernard's attitude toward the Incarnate Word is founded on Origen"”I mean his thoughts on amor carnalis Christi [carnal love of Christ] in relation to mystical experience. I may be wrong
Quotation SourceThe School of Charity: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Renewal and Spiritual Direction.; Selected and edited by Brother Patrick Hart. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1990, p. 24
Letter toDom Jean Leclercq, o.s.b.
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