A Year with the Saints – 11 May


As without faith it is impossible to please God, so without mildness it is impossible to please men and to govern them well. – Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

The same Saint proved this by his example. When he was made Abbot, he proceeded at first with much austerity and severity; and though his monks had a high opinion of him, they could not adapt themselves to each other. Therefore, he was warned by God to show more suavity and sweetness; and when he did so, he gained for himself the affection of all, and a most exact obedience.

Cassiodorus relates of Theobald that after being made king he used to say: “In changing our office we have changed our methods; and if we previously acted with rigor, we now employ clemency altogether.”

Nicetus, in his Annals, tells of a certain emperor who at his death called together the chief men of the empire, and said to them: “My two sons, as you see, are both good; but I consider the younger better fitted to govern than the elder, for, besides his other virtues, he is inclined to clemency and docility, and when he has made any mistake, he follows the counsels of others, and obeys the voice of reason. The other is easily made angry, and in his fits of passion he cannot control himself. This trait is most opposed to good counsel, and brings ruin on the wise.”

MLA Citation