August 20th is the feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church. This particular depiction of the “amplexus” or embrace of Saint Bernard by the Crucified Jesus is found in the Church of San Bernardo Alle Terme in Rome.
Preface of the Mass of Saint Bernard*
Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
Christ is the Word
whom Saint Bernard held in the silence of his heart;
Christ is the Bridegroom
whom he desired with all the ardour of his soul;
Christ is the Son of the Virgin Mary
whose sweetness was his comfort and delight.
In the holy abbot Bernard you have given your Church
a teacher in the school of charity,
a prophet burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit,
a poet to sing the praises of the Virgin Mother,
a servant of unity and peace.
Even today, his words fill us with wonder,
inflame us with longing for the wedding of the Lamb,
and inspire us to sing your praise with joy.
Therefore, with the angels and the great company of saints,
we exalt your glory forever.
*Composed for the Novus Ordo Missae; in use ad experimentum in some Cistercian and Benedictine houses.