« Prev Chapter VIII Next »



Departure from Ireland. Death and Burial at Clairvaux.

1148, May (?)

67. (30). Being asked once, in what place, if a choice were given him, he would prefer to spend his last day—for on this subject the brothers used to ask one another what place each would select for himself—he hesitated, and made no reply. But when they insisted, he said, "If I take my departure hence821821I.e. "If I die in Ireland." I shall do so nowhere more gladly than whence I may rise together with our Apostle"822822In Armagh. See §§ 19, 65.—he referred to St. Patrick; "but if it behoves me to make a pilgrimage, and if God so permits, I have selected Clairvaux." When asked also about the time, [he named in reply] the festival of all the dead.823823All Souls' Day, November 2. If it is regarded as a mere wish, it was fulfilled, if as a prophecy, not a jot passed from it.824824Matt. v. 18. As we have heard so have we seen825825Ps. xlviii. 8. alike concerning place and day. Let us relate briefly in what order and by what occasion it came to pass. Malachy took it amiss that Ireland was still without a pall; for he was zealous for the sacraments, and would not that his nation should be wholly deprived of any one of them.826826Note that the pall is called a sacrament. And remembering that it had been promised to him by Pope Innocent,827827See § 38. he was the more sad that while he was still alive it had not been sent for. And taking advantage of the fact that Pope Eugenius828828Bernard Paganelli, a monk of Clairvaux, was sent to Rome by St. Bernard at the request of Innocent II. and was appointed abbot of the monastery of St. Anastasius. On the death of Lucius II. he was elected Pope, February 15, 1144, and assumed the title of Eugenius III. (H. K. Mann, Lives of the Popes, ix. 131 ff.) held the chief rule and was reported to 118have gone at that time to France,829829Eugenius left Viterbo at the beginning of 1147. He was at Lyons in March, and at Troyes on April 10 (Jaffé, p. 624 ff.; Mann, ix. 185). he rejoiced that he had found opportunity for claiming it. He took for granted that, the Pope being such a man as he was, and having been promoted from such a religious profession—and the more because he had been a special son of his own Clairvaux—he need not fear that he should have any difficulty with him. Therefore the bishops were summoned; a council assembled.830830In accordance with the instructions of Innocent II. (§ 38): "A Synod was convened at Inis Patraic by Mael Maedoc, coarb of Patrick, at which were present fifteen bishops and two hundred priests, to establish rules and morals for all, both laity and clergy; and Mael Maedoc Ua Morgair, by the advice of the Synod, went a second time to Rome (sic) to confer with the comarb of Peter" (A.F.M. 1148). Inispatrick is a small island off Skerries, co. Dublin. For the date see R.A.I. xxxv. 249 f. In the same year Malachy had consecrated the monastery of Knock (A.F.M. See p. 67, n. 3). Matters which were of immediate importance at the time were discussed for three days, and on the fourth the scheme of obtaining the pall was broached. Assent was given, but on condition that it should be obtained by another. However, since the journey was a comparatively short one, and on that account the pilgrimage seemed more easy to be endured, none presumed to oppose his counsel and will. And when the council was dissolved Malachy started on his way.831831St. Bernard seems to have thought that St. Malachy set sail immediately after the Synod, and from a port not far from the place where it met. But this is impossible, for one day's sail brought him to Scotland (§ 68). He seems to have embarked at Bangor, which is about a hundred miles north of Inispatrick. Such brothers as had come together followed him to the shore; but not many, for he doubtless 119restrained them. One of them, Catholicus by name, with tearful voice and face, said to him, "Alas! you are going away; and in how great, almost daily, trouble you leave me you are not ignorant, and yet you do not, of your pity, give me help. If I deserve to suffer, what sin have the brothers committed that they are scarcely allowed to have any day or night free from the labour of caring for and guarding me?" By these words and tears of his son (for he wept) the father's heart was troubled,832832Cp. Lam. ii. 11. and he embraced him with caresses, and making the sign of the cross on his breast said, "Be assured that you will have no such suffering till I return." Now he was an epileptic, and fell often; insomuch that at times he suffered not once but many times a day. He had been a victim to this horrible disease for six years; but at the word of Malachy he made a perfect recovery. From that hour he has suffered no such thing; no such thing, as we believe, will he suffer henceforth, for henceforth Malachy will not return.

68. When he was just about to embark there came unto him two of those who clave unto him833833Ruth i. 14. more closely, boldly desiring a certain thing of him. And he said to them, "What would ye?"834834Matt. xx. 20, combined with Mark x. 35, 36. And they answered, "We will not say, except you promise that you will give it." He pledged himself. And they said, "We would have you certainly promise of your condescension, that you will return in good health to Ireland." All the others also insisted upon it. Then he deliberated for a while, repenting at first that he had bound himself, and not finding any way of escape. He was straitened on every side,835835Susanna, 22. while no way of safety presented itself from both dangers—of forfeiting his wish and of breaking his promise. It seemed at length that he should rather 120choose that which influenced him more strongly at the moment, and leave the rest to higher guidance. He assented, sadly it is true; but he was more unwilling that they should be made sad; and pledging himself as they wished, he went on board the ship. And when they had completed nearly half the voyage suddenly a contrary wind drove the ship back and brought it to the land of Ireland again. Leaving the ship he passed the night in the port itself in one of his churches. And he joyfully gave thanks for the resourcefulness of the divine providence, by which it came about that he had now satisfied his promise. But in the morning, he went on board, and the same day, after a prosperous crossing, came into Scotland. On the third day836836That is, the first day after his landing in Scotland. he reached a place which is called Viride Stagnum;837837The Green Lake. It is now Soulseat, about eight miles from Cairngarroch. At this place Fergus, lord of Galloway (p. 76, n. 4), founded a famous monastery of Premonstratensian canons (Grub, Eccl. Hist. of Scotland, i. 269), which must not be confused with Malachy's more humble community. which he had caused to be prepared that he might found an abbey there. And leaving there some of his sons, our brothers, as a convent of monks and abbot838838The abbot was Michael, who had belonged to the community at Bangor (§ 15). As this new community is called "a convent of monks" we may infer that it was of the Cistercian Order. (for he had brought them with him for that purpose) he bade them farewell and set out.

69. And as he passed on, King David met him, by whom he was received with joy and was detained as his guest for some days.839839Note the leisureliness of the journey in its earlier stages. Later on Malachy encountered difficulties, which no doubt involved further delay (Serm. i. § 1). And having done many things pleasing to God he resumed the journey that he had begun. And passing through Scotland, at the very border of England he went aside to the Church of 121Gisburn, where there dwell religious men leading a canonical life,840840Gisburn is a village in the West Riding of Yorkshire on the river Ribble, not far from the border of Lancashire. It is clear that on this occasion Malachy followed the line of Watling Street, which ran through Ribchester, on the Ribble, about fourteen miles from Gisburn. His road probably passed within three miles of that place between Settle and Chetburn. He seems to have avoided entering England as long as possible—supposing no doubt, and with good reason, that he was safer in the dominions of David than in those of Stephen. For details of the journey see R.I.A. xxxv. 239 ff., 249. The monastery of Gisburn, of which the ruins remain to the south of the parish church, was founded for Augustinian canons, in 1129, by Robert de Brus (Dugdale, vi. 1, 265 ff.). familiar to him of old for their religious conversation and honourable character. At that place a woman was brought to him, suffering from a disease horrible to see, which is commonly called cancer; and he healed her. For when water which he blessed was sprinkled on the sores she ceased to feel pain. On the next day scarcely a sore was to be seen.

Departing thence he came to the sea, but was refused passage. The reason, if I am not mistaken, was that some difference had arisen between the chief pontiff and the king of England: for the king suspected in that good man I know not what evil, if he should cross the sea;841841Malachy was probably suspected (not without cause) of being an emissary of the supporters of the Empress Matilda. He had just spent some days with David I., and with him and his stepson Waltheof he was on terms of intimate friendship (§§ 36, 40). King David invaded England in the following year. for neither did he allow other bishops to cross.842842The reference is apparently to King Stephen's attempt to prevent Theobald of Canterbury and other bishops from attending the Council of Rheims in March 1148. But Malachy does not seem to have been summoned to the Council, and he did not reach the Channel till long after it was over (see next note). That obstacle, though contrary to the will of Malachy, was not contrary to the object of his wish. He grieved that the attainment of his desire should be postponed, not knowing that by this it would be the rather fulfilled. 122For if he had immediately passed over the sea he would have been obliged to pass by Clairvaux in order to follow the chief Pontiff. For by that time he had left it and was at or near Rome.843843Eugenius left Clairvaux on April 27, and Lausanne on May 20 (Jaffé, p. 634). At this rate he might have been expected to reach Rome by the end of July. About that time, therefore, we may conjecture that Malachy was on the coast of Kent. Actually, the Pope was not near Rome till he reached Viterbo on November 30 (ibid. 636). St. Bernard, therefore, when he wrote this passage, was ignorant of his movements for a considerable time before Malachy's death. But now through this delay it was brought about that he crossed later, and so, as was fitting, he came to the place of his most holy death, and at the hour of its approach.

1148, Oct. 13 or 14

70. (37). And he was received by us, though he came from the west, as the true day-spring844844Oriens: literally, "east." from on high visiting us.845845Luke i. 78. O, how greatly did that radiant sun fill our Clairvaux with added glory! How pleasant was the festal day that dawned upon us at his coming! This was the day which the Lord had made, we rejoiced and were glad in it.846846Ps. cxviii. 24. As for me, with what rapid and bounding step, though trembling and weak,847847St. Bernard's life-long and ever-increasing frailty is constantly alluded to by his biographers. It was largely due to his extreme austerity. In this incident we have an example of the way in which, on many occasions, the strength of his mind conquered the weakness of his body (V. P. v. 4). did I soon run to meet him! With what joy I kissed him! With what joyful arms I embraced848848Gen. xxix. 13. this grace sent to me from heaven! With what eager face and mind, my father, I brought thee into my mother's house and into the chamber of her that conceived me!849849Cant. iii. 4. What festive days I spent with thee then, though few! But how did he in his turn greet us? In truth our pilgrim showed himself cheerful 123and kindly to all, to all incredibly gracious. How good and how pleasant850850Ps. cxxxiii. 1. a part he played among us as our guest, whom, forsooth, he had come from the uttermost parts of the earth to see, not that he should hear, but that he should show us, a Solomon! In fact we heard his wisdom,851851Matt. xii. 42; Luke xi. 31. we had his presence, and we have it still. 1148, Oct. 18Already four or five days of this our festival had passed, when lo, on the feast day of Blessed Luke the Evangelist,852852October 18. Malachy had therefore reached Clairvaux on October 13 or 14. In the interval he met St. Gilbert of Sempringham and presented him with a pastoral staff (Dugdale, vi. 2, p. xii.). In France Malachy travelled alone—having been parted from his companions in England—and probably on horseback (§ 36). He may, therefore, have left England about September 30, and traversed the 270 miles from Wissant to Clairvaux by October 14. He apparently intended to start for Rome on St. Luke's Day (Serm. i. § 1). when he had celebrated Mass in the convent853853That is, in the presence of the community. with that holy devotion of his, he was taken with a fever and lay down in his bed: and all of us were [sick] with him. The end of our mirth is sorrow,854854Prov. xiv. 13 (inexact quotation). but moderate sorrow, because for a time the fever seemed to be slight. You should see the brothers running about, eager to give, or to receive. To whom was it not sweet to see him? To whom was it not sweeter to minister to him? Both were pleasant and both salutary. It was an act of kindness to do him service, and it was repaid also to each one of them, by the gift of grace. All assisted, all were busied with much serving,855855Luke x. 40. searching for medicines, applying poultices, urging him often to eat. But he said to them, "These things are without avail, yet for love of you I do whatever you bid me." For he knew that the time of his departure was at hand.856856Cp. 2 Tim. iv. 6, in which the phraseology of the vg. differs entirely from that of the text.

12471. And when the brothers who had come with him857857Not strictly accurate. Malachy reached Clairvaux before his companions. See p. 123, n. 3. urged him more boldly, saying that it behoved him not to despair of life, for that no signs of death appeared in him,858858The physicians said the same (Serm. i. § 2). he said, "It behoves Malachy to leave the body this year."859859This saying is quoted in a slightly different form in Serm. i. § 2. And he added, "See, the day is drawing near which, as you very well know, I have always desired to be the day of my dissolution.8608602 Tim. iv. 6. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded;8618612 Tim. i. 12. I shall not be disappointed of the rest of my desire,862862Ps. lxxviii. 30 (vg.). since I already have part of it. He who by his mercy has led me to the place which I sought, will not deny me the time for which I wished no less. As regards this mean body, here is my rest;863863Ps. cxxxii. 14 (inexact quotation). as regards my soul, the Lord will provide, who saveth them that put their trust in Him.864864Ps. xvii. 7. And there is no small hope laid up for me at that day8658652 Tim. iv. 8. in which so great benefits are bestowed by the living on the dead."866866All Souls' Day. Not far away was that day when he spoke thus. Meanwhile he ordered that he should be anointed with the sacred oil. When the convent of brothers was going out that it might be done solemnly,867867For the Cistercian method of administering unction see Usus antiquiores ordinis Cisterciensis, iii. 94 (P.L. clxvi. 1471). he would not permit them to come up to him; he went down to them. For he was lying in the balcony868868Solario. of the upper house. He was anointed; and when he had received the viaticum, he commended himself to the prayers of the brothers, and the brothers to God,869869Cp. Letter iv. § 2, where it is added that he commended the Irish brothers to the care of St. Bernard. and went back to bed. He went down from 125the high balcony870870Solio. on his feet, and again, as if that were not enough, he went up on his feet; yet he said that death was at the doors.871871Matt. xxiv. 33. Who should believe that this man was dying? Himself alone and God could know it. His face did not seem to have become pallid or wasted. His brow was not wrinkled, his eyes were not sunken, his nostrils were not thin, his lips were not contracted, his teeth were not brown, his neck was not gaunt and lean, his shoulders were not bowed, the flesh on the rest of his body had not failed. Such was the grace of his body, and such the glory of his countenance which was not to be done away,8728722 Cor. iii. 7. even in death. As he appeared in life so was he also in death, more like to one alive.

72. (38). Hitherto our story has run a rapid course; but now it stays because Malachy has finished his course.873873Tim. iv. 7. He is still, and with him we are still. Moreover, who would willingly hasten to [tell of] death? Especially thy death, holy father, who could describe it? Who would wish to hear the story? Yet we loved in life, in death we shall not be divided.8748742 Sam. i. 23 (inaccurate quotation).—Contrast St. Bernard's lament for his brother Gerard (Cant. xxvi. 4): "We loved in life, how have we been divided in death? Most bitter separation!" Brothers, let us not forsake in death him with whom we companied in life. From further Scotland875875Ireland. he ran hither to death; let us also go and die with him.876876John xi. 16. I must, I must tell that which of necessity I saw. The celebration, everywhere renowned, of All Saints877877November 1. For the translation of relics which took place, apparently on that day, see Serm. i. § 2. comes, and according to the ancient saying, Music in mourning is an unseasonable discourse.878878Ecclus. xxii. 6. We come, we sing, even against our will. We weep while we sing and we sing while we weep. 126Malachy, though he sings not, yet does not lament. For why should he lament, who is drawing near to joy? For us who remain,8798791 Thess. iv. 17. mourning remains. Malachy alone keeps festival. For what he cannot do with his body he does with his mind, as it is written, The thought of man shall confess to thee, and the residue of thought shall keep the day of festival to thee.880880Ps. lxxvi. 10 (vg.). When the instrument of the body fails him, and the organ of the mouth is silent, and the office of the voice ceases, it remains that with songs in his heart he keeps festival. Why should not the saint keep festival, who is being brought to the festival of the saints?881881Sanctorum ... sollemnitatem. Not the Festival of All Saints, for that had already come, but, as the next sentence shows, the festival assembly of the saints in heaven. Compare Ps. lxxiv. 4, where congregations represents solemnitatis in the Vulgate. He presents to them what will soon be due to himself. Yet a little while882882John xiv. 19, etc. and he will be one of them.

73. Towards the dusk of night, when now somehow the celebration of the day had been finished by us, Malachy had drawn near, not to dusk but to dawn. Was it not dawn to him883883Cp. Cant. xxvi. 11, "For thee, brother, even at midnight the day dawned." for whom the night is far spent and the day is at hand?884884Rom. xiii. 12. So, the fever increasing, a burning sweat from within him began to break out over his whole body, that, as it were going through fire and through water, he might be brought into a wealthy place.885885Ps. lxvi. 12. Now his life was despaired of, now each one condemned his own judgement, now none doubted that Malachy's word886886See § 71. was prevailing. We were called; we came. And lifting up his eyes on those who stood round him, he said, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you;887887Luke xxii. 51.—This saying is quoted in Serm. i. § 5. I 127give thanks to the divine compassion, I have not been disappointed of my desire."888888Ps. lxxviii. 30 (vg.). Do you see the man free from care in death, and, not yet dead, already certain of life? No wonder. Seeing that the night was come to which he had looked forward, and that in it the day was dawning for him, so to speak triumphing over the night, he seemed to scoff at the darkness and as it were to cry, "I shall not say, surely the darkness shall cover me, because this night shall be light about me in my pleasure."889889Ps. cxxxix. 11 (vg.).—Cp. Cant. xxvi. 11: "Already for thee, my brother, even at midnight the day was dawning, and the night was shining as the day; straightway that night was light about thee in thy pleasure. I was summoned to that miracle, to see a man exulting in death and mocking death." And tenderly consoling us he said, "Take care of me; if it be allowed me I shall not forget you. And it shall be allowed. I have believed in God,890890John xiv. 1. and all things are possible to him that believeth.891891Mark ix. 23. I have loved God; I have loved you, and charity never faileth."8928921 Cor. xiii. 8. And looking up to heaven893893Mark vii. 34. he said, "O God, keep them in Thy name;894894John xvii. 11. and not these only but all them also who through my word895895John xvii. 20. and ministry have given themselves to thy service." Then, laying his hands on each one severally and blessing all,896896Cp. Praef. 2. he bade them go to rest, because his hour was not yet come.897897John vii. 30.

1148, November 2

74. We went. We returned about midnight, for at that hour it was announced that the light shineth in darkness.898898John i. 5. The house filled, the whole community was present, many abbots also who had assembled. With psalms and hymns and spiritual songs899899Eph. v. 19; Col. iii. 16. we followed our friend as he returned to his own country.900900The meaning of the phrase is explained in De Cons. v. 2: "This will be a returning to our own country, when we leave the country of our bodies and reach the realm of spirits—I mean our God, the Mighty Spirit, the great abiding place of the spirits of the blest" (Lewis's translation, slightly altered). Cp. Serm. ii., § 6. In the fifty-fourth 128year of his age,901901A.F.M. say, "after the fifty-fourth year of his age." St. Bernard appears to be right. For Malachy was made bishop of Connor when he was just entering his thirtieth year (§ 16), i.e. about his twenty-ninth birthday. A.F.M. give the date as 1124. But if he was over fifty-four on November 2, 1148 (§ 75), his twenty-ninth birthday would have been before November 1123. If he was under fifty-four on that day it may have been in 1124. at the place and time which he had chosen beforehand and predicted, Malachy, the bishop and legate of the holy Apostolic See, taken up by the angels,902902Luke xvi. 22. as it were from our hands, happily fell asleep in the Lord.903903Acts vii. 60 (vg.). And indeed he slept. His placid face was the sign of a placid departure. And verily the eyes of all were fixed upon him;904904Luke iv. 20. but none could perceive when he departed. When dead he was thought to be alive, when alive, dead; so true was it that there was no difference which might distinguish death from life. The same vivacity of face, the same serenity, as commonly appears in one who sleeps. You might say that death robbed him of none of these things, but rather very greatly increased them. He was not changed; but he changed us all. In wondrous fashion the sorrow and groaning of all suddenly sank to rest, sadness was changed into joy,905905Esth. xiii. 17 (vg.); xvi. 21 (vg.); cp. John xvi. 20, etc. singing banished lamentation.906906Cp. Amos viii. 10. He is borne forth, voices are borne to heaven, he is borne into the oratory on the shoulders of the abbots. Faith has conquered,9079071 John v. 5. affection triumphs, things assume their normal course. All things are carried out in order, all proceed in the way of reason.

75. And in truth what reason is there to lament Malachy immoderately, as though his death was not 129precious,908908Ps. cxvi. 15. as though it was not rather sleep than death, as though it was not the port of death and the portal of life?909909Cp. Serm. ii. § 8. Our friend Malachy sleepeth;910910John xi. 11. and I, must I mourn? such mourning is based on custom, not on reason. If the Lord hath given His beloved one sleep, and such sleep, in which there is an heritage of the Lord, even children, and the reward, the fruit of the womb,911911Ps. cxxvii. 2, 3 (vg.). which of these things seems to call for weeping? Must I weep for him who has escaped from weeping? He rejoices, he triumphs, he has been brought into the joy of his Lord,912912Matt. xxv. 21, 23. and I, must I lament for him? I desire these things for myself, I do not grudge them to him. Meanwhile the obsequies are prepared, the sacrifice is offered for him,913913St. Bernard himself celebrated Mass, and by divine inspiration, "when the sacrifice was finished, changed the order of the prayer and introduced the collect for the commemoration of saints who were bishops instead of that which was used for the commendation of the dead," anticipating, as we may suppose, Malachy's canonization. He then devoutly kissed his feet (V.P. iv. 21). all is performed according to custom with the greatest devotion. There stood some way off a boy whose arm hung by his side dead, rather burdensome to him than useful. When I discovered him I signed to him to come near, and taking his withered hand I laid it on the hand of the bishop, and it restored it to life. For in truth the grace of healings9149141 Cor. xii. 9 (vg.). lived in the dead; and his hand was to the dead hand what Elisha was to the dead man.9159152 Kings xiii. 21. The boy had come from far916916Mark viii. 3. and the hand which he brought hanging down, he carried back whole to his own country. Now, all things having been duly accomplished in the very oratory of Saint Mary, Mother of God, in which he was well pleased,917917Matt. iii. 17. 130Malachy is carried to his burial918918Malachy was buried on the north side of the Oratory, vested in St. Bernard's habit. Five years later St. Bernard was buried before the Altar of Saint Mary, clad in the habit in which Malachy died, and which he had worn ever since his death when he celebrated Mass (V.P. v. 15, 23, 24). For further particulars of St. Malachy's burial and the disposal of his relics see R.Q.H. lii. 43 f. in the eleven hundred and forty-eighth year from the Incarnation of the Lord, on the fourth of the Nones of November.919919November 2. From this statement (see p. 128, n. 1) we may infer that Malachy was born in 1095, before November. Thine, good Jesus, is the deposit which has been committed to us,9209202 Tim. i. 12. Thine is the treasure which is laid up with us.921921The biographers of St. Bernard give no detailed account of any of Malachy's visits to Clairvaux. But one of them—Geoffrey, St. Bernard's secretary—wrote a prayer for the Bright Valley, in which he placed Malachy on a par with the great Cistercian, thereby revealing to us the extraordinary impression which he made on the community (V.P. v. 25). I owe the following translation of it to a friend: "Grant, O Lord, thy never-failing bounty to the spiritual harvest of the Valley, which thou didst deem worthy to illumine with two stars of such surpassing brightness, so making it brighter in very truth even than in name. Do thou guard the house wherein this twofold treasure is laid up and guarded for thee. Be it also unto us according to thy word, that as thy treasure is there so may thy heart be also; there too thy grace and mercy: and may the favour of thy compassion for ever rest on all who are gathered together in the self-same place in thy Name, which is above every name, even as thou art over all, God blessed for ever.—Amen." We keep it9229222 Tim. i. 12. to be given back at the time when Thou shalt see fit to recall it; only that he may not go forth without his comrades, but that him whom we have had as our guest we may have also as our leader, when we shall reign with Thee, and with him also, for ever and ever.923923Rev. xxii. 5. Amen.

« Prev Chapter VIII Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection