Lent Madness: Bernard vs. William Tyndale

Lent Madness continues with a battle between St. Bernard (no dog jokes please) and William Tyndale. A monastic versus a translator. Lots to consider here but only one saint will win the right to face off against Elizabeth of Hungary in the next round.

In recent action, Vincent narrowly defeated Clement of Alexandria to advance to a match against Charles Simeon. Click Lent Madness 2011 to view the updated tournament bracket. The tournament will continue on Monday with Leo the Great vs. Timothy.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 — 1153) was born into a noble family in Burgundy. While his brothers were trained as soldiers, Bernard prepared for a life of scholarship. When he was 22 he decided to enter the monastery at Citeaux. Clearly an engaging personality and great leader, he persuaded four of his brothers, an uncle and 26 other men to join him. After three years the abbot charged Bernard with taking 12 brothers and starting a new monastery at La Ferte. This new monastery, known as Clairvaux, soon became renowned and by the end of his life Bernard had 60 new monasteries of the Cistercian order under his direction.

In 1144 King Louis IX of France asked Bernard to foment support for a crusade through his preaching. When Bernard refused, the king appealed to the pope who ordered Bernard to preach. He did so with spectacular results and whole villages sent young men to fight in the Holy Land. This led to an ugly incident in the Rhineland where a monk spoke up for what he thought was the logical next step — to kill local Jews. The archbishop sheltered as many Jews as he could and begged Bernard to assist him in reversing the situation. Bernard took up the call, denounced the monk involved, and the riots ended. Because of this the Rhineland Jews referred to Bernard as a “righteous Gentile.”

A number of hymns are attributed to Bernard including “O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded.”

Collect for Bernard O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

William Tyndale (1495-1569) was an Englishman educated at both Oxford and Cambridge and ordained a priest in 1521. Soon thereafter he stated his desire for what would become his lifelong passion — to translate the Bible into English. Finding that King Henry VIII was firmly against the translation of Scripture, Tyndale fled to Germany where he met Martin Luther. In Germany, Tyndale went from town to town always in danger of capture.

In 1525 he completed his translation of the New Testament and 18,000 were smuggled into England. Over the years he translated the Pentateuch and a number of other books of the Old Testament. He was, however, ultimately betrayed by a former friend, arrested, tried, and convicted of heresy. He was condemned to be burned and his last words uttered at the stake were, “Lord, Open the King of England’s eyes.”

He is remembered along with Miles Coverdale who later completed the translation of what would be known as the Tyndale-Coverdale Bible. The king’s eye’s were opened and this translation received royal sanction.

Collect for William Tyndale (and Miles Coverdale) Almighty God, you planted in the heart of your servants William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale a consuming passion to bring the Scriptures to people in their native tongue, and endowed them with the gift of powerful and graceful expression and with strength to persevere against all obstacles: Reveal to us your saving Word, as we read and study the Scriptures, and hear them calling us to repentance and life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



5 Comments on “Lent Madness: Bernard vs. William Tyndale”

  1. Daniel Stroud says:

    My vote for Tyndale almost pains me, especially as Ive been a fan of Bernard for a good long while, but I suppose it shouldn’t, based on the early returns.

  2. Kerry says:

    I had to go with Tyndale and the English Bible. Although “The Lactation of St. Bernard”, just by its sheer oddness could have changed my vote.

  3. The Virtual Abbey says:

    Had to go with Bernard, even though he was mean to Hildegard von Bingen. My (Jewish) father, of blessed memory, was named Bernard and, having no middle name, adopted “F.X.” (Frances Xavier). And does anyone wonder why I ended up Catholic?

  4. Stephanie Bradbury says:

    My basketball bracket is waaaay stronger than my saint bracket. My voting for Bernard over Tyndale was like my choosing Gonzaga over St. John’s. Except, of course, Gonzaga won. Perhaps I am in the wrong profession?

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