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God Chastises the Good
When They Do Not Fight against Evil

The following is an excerpt from the speech St. Bernard addressed to the Catholic knights assembled in Vezelay in Burgundy, France, regarding the Second Crusade convoked by Pope Eugenius III on December 1, 1145.


St. Bernard

You know that we are living in a time of chastisement and destruction.... The laws of the land and the laws of Religion no longer have the strength to maintain the customs and stop the triumph of the evil ones. The devil of heresy is seated on the throne of truth. God has cursed His sanctuary.

All you who hear me, make haste to calm the wrath of Heaven! Leave off imploring His goodness with futile lamentations or mortifying yourself with disciplines, but rather take up your invincible shields. The clamor of arms, the dangers, difficulties and fatigues of war, these are the penances that God imposes on you. Go to make reparation for your faults with victories against the infidels, and let the liberation of the Holy Places be the noble reward of your repentance.

If someone were to come and announce that the enemy had just entered your cities, stolen away your wives and children, and desecrated your churches, who would not immediately rush to take up arms? Well, all these evils and others still worse have fallen on the family of Jesus Christ, which is also yours. It was dispersed by the sword of pagans; barbarians destroyed the house of God and divided His inheritance. What else must take place for you to repair so many evils and avenge so many outrages?

Will you let the infidels contemplate in peace the destruction and looting they have done in the house of the Christian people? Think of how their triumph will be the cause of inconsolable sorrow for all centuries and an eternal shame for the generation that permitted it.

Yes, the living God has charged me with telling you that He will chastise all those who do not defend Him against His enemies. All of you, then, to arms! Let a holy ire animate you to combat, and let these words of the Prophet resound throughout the world: Cursed be he who does not bloody his sword!

If God calls you to defend Him, it is not because His hand has become any less powerful: ... Rather, God looks down at the children of man and wants to offer them the path of mercy; His goodness is giving you the day of forgiveness. He chose you as the instrument of His revenge. He wants to be indebted to you for the destruction of His enemies and the triumph of His justice. Yes, the Omnipotent God calls you to make reparation for your sins by defending His glory and His name.

Christians warriors, these are combats worthy of you, combats that will attract the blessings of earth and Heaven, in which death itself will be for you but another triumph. Illustrious knights, remember the examples of your ancestors who conquered Jerusalem and whose names were inscribed in the Book of Life. Put on the Cross ... which will earn you the conquest of the celestial kingdom.

(História da Cruzadas, Joseph-Francois Michaud,
Editora das Américas, vol, 2, book 6, p. 234)

Posted December 9, 2006
Militant Christ emblem

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