“You want me to tell you why God is to be loved and how much. I answer, the reason for loving God is God Himself.”

ernard of Clairvaux is this months mystic, also known as the, “the mellifluous doctor”. Bernard was very passionate with his work for the Lord and because of it he had a great deal of influence with the religious, political, and military leaders of his day.  Bernard was sought after for advice from people in all walks of life and his words and works were highly respected.  It was said of Bernards personality that it, “was so attractive, his power of persuasion so difficult to withstand, that we are told that mothers hid their children and wives clung to their spouses lest he seduce them into the monastery.” The life of Bernard intrigues me so much because it is a rarity in these days to see a man of God with such passion for Christ and influence on the “leaders” around him.  Saint Bernard carried a lot of weight in the 12th Century and although like every human being, he had his flaws, he shaped history for the better.

Bernard’s father was a knight that died in battle and his mother passed when he was at a young age.  In 1098 Bernard joined a monastic community of reformed Benedictines in Citeaux along with 30 of his friends, relatives, and family members from the neighborhood.  This shows the influence that he had at a young age! The community received a fresh breath of life and continued to grow as well as heavily impact the Western way of monachism.  It was here that Bernard wished to live hidden and forgotten, concerned only with God.  Due to the rapid growth of the community they sent out Bernard and 11 others to establish a monastery in Clairvaux in 1115.  Before the monastery was established the town was called Wormwood and was a haven for thieves.   It was here in Clairvaux where Bernard was positioned as abbot and was launched into a world of popularity in and outside of the religious world.

The new established monastery grew fast and rapidly accumulated 130 monks.  It was known that Bernard was strict with fasting and eating habits and became ill, but he was restored and lightened up on his strict eating rules with his monastery.  He felt led to start preaching and because of his eloquent preaching style, he was sought from all over and people started flocking to hear Bernard of Clairvaux.   It was said by Erasmus, author of, Art of Preaching, “Bernard is an eloquent preacher, much more by nature than by art; he is full of charm and vivacity, and knows how to reach and move the affections.” The teachings brought many, but Bernard was also operating in healing and miracles, thus bringing throngs of sick people in order to get touched and healed.  There are said to be accounts of sick people whom Bernard healed by making the sign of the cross over them.

Bernard longed for a life of contemplation in Clairvaux, but his reputation was wide spread and sought after by princes, popes, and other high ranking leaders in the religious and political arenas. Because of this Bernard was traveling all over Europe.  He once wrote that his life was, “overrun everywhere by anxieties, suspicions, cares. There is scarcely an hour free from the crowd of discordant applicants, and the troubles and cares of their business. I have no power to stop their coming and cannot refuse to see them, and they do not leave me even time to pray.” Bernard himself sought after justice and longed to see righteous men in “church” positions.  The words of Bernard swayed many high up churchmen to change their ways and humble themselves.  Bernard said to the dean of Languedoc: “You may imagine that what belongs to the Church belongs to you, while you officiate there. But you are mistaken; for though it is reasonable that one who serves the altar should live by the altar, yet it must not be to promote either his luxury or his pride.”

In 1130 the death of Pope Honorius II brought Bernard into the middle of a highly disputed election.  It was a show down between Innocent II and Anacletus II.  Anacletus had Rome in its grasp but Bernard in Innocent’s defense was able to persuade a panel of bishops that Anacletus was a “worldly man” and that Innocent was the one to be pope.  His defense was heard and Innocent the II became the pope.  It was here where Bernard traveled with the Pope and preached as he went, bringing reconciliation, harmony, healing, miracles, and decisions for Christ! Bernard himself was offered bishop positions, but they were all declined and he decided to focus his time at Clairvaux.  It was his days in Clairvaux where he was able to spend his time on his sermons and writings.  Bernard never ceased to see righteousness in the land with the advancing of the Lords Kingdom, although he was heavily opposed by heresies of the time.  These heresies eventually gained momentum, thus thrusting Europe into the second Crusade of 1146, the Pope had Bernard to preach the Holy War. The second Crusade was a complete failure and Bernard received a lot of criticism for this, in his defense he said, “”How is it,” he asked, “that the rashness of mortals dares condemn what they cannot understand?”

In his aging and tiredness he returned to Clairvaux and continued in his meditations and writings.  His works include Grace and Free Choice, On Loving God, and his very well known commentary on Song of Songs which is comprised of 86 sermons as well as many more prolific writings from his lifetime.  On August 20, 1153 he gathered those who were close to him and had his Last Sacrament and passed away at the age of 63.

Commenting on Song of Songs 2:17 in his seventy-fourth sermon on the book:

“I have to confess that the Word has come to me, and come often… As often as he would enter into me, I didn’t perceive the different times when he came. I perceived he was present; I remembered that he had been there. Now and then I would be able to get a premonition of his coming, but never perceive it, or sense it when he left (Ps 120:8). Where he came from when he entered my soul, or where he went to when he left it again, and whatever the means were of his entry and exit, I must confess I’m still quite ignorant of… But perhaps he does not have to enter because he is already within? He is not something on the outside (I Cor 5:12)… Since his ways are beyond all investigation (Rom 11:33), you may want to ask how I could know that he was present? He is life and power, and as soon as he came within he roused my sleeping soul to instant wakefulness. He moved and mollified and wounded my heart (Song 4:9), since it was hard as a rock and desperately ill. And then he began to root up and to destroy, to build and to plant, to water what was parched, to enlighten what was dark (Jer 1:10), to set free what was chained up, to set on fire what was cold, as well as to set the crooked ways straight and rough ways plain (Is 40:4), so that my soul might bless the Lord, and all that is in me might bless his holy name (Ps 102:1). Therefore, when the Word and Bridegroom entered into me from time to time, his coming was never made known by any signs – by word, or appearance, or footstep. I was never made aware by any action on his part, nor by any kinds of motion sent down to my most inward parts. As I have said, it was only from the motion of my heart that I understood he was present. And I recognized the power of his might from the way vices were banished and how carnal desires were repressed… This is all true, because when the Word has departed, just as if a boiling pot had been removed from the fire, all these things began to become frigid and cold by a kind of torpor. This was the sign of his going away – my soul would necessarily be sad until he returned once more. When my heart was re-kindled in the usual way within me, I knew that it was that sign of his return.” The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism, Bernard McGinn (editor), (New York: the Modern Library, 2006), p 222-4.

Some of Bernard’s focuses were Centrality of Love, Ordering, Preoccupation with Union, and Inclusion of Experience which have been brought into “Mystical Theology”.

I know that God is raising up passionate and influential believers in this day.  I pray that we set apart our hearts on the things of Christ and not allow us to be influenced by the “ways of the world” but that we may influence the influencers and carry a spirit of reconciliation wherever we go because it is the ministry that Christ has given us (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Thank you for reading.


Patrick Judah




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Now that the celebration week of Saint Patrick is over and his name has quickly been forgotten by those that see it as just another day, allow me to finish the third part of my research on the Saint…not the Day.  For those of you that are just tuning in, check out my last two post to get caught up!



The year is 432 A.D. and St. Patrick and his small entourage just landed on the shores of Ireland.  Upon arrival the team of strangers to the land were spotted and confronted by chief master, Dichu.  Not only was Dichu’s Patrick’s first contact, he was his host, FIRST CONVERT, and he also gave Patrick his barn for a church! That should give you an idea of how powerful God was working through Patrick from the start!

Of course this was only the beginning.  Patrick was extremely bold and passionate about his message of the GOSPEL and he took it directly to the top pagans and druids with a daring statement!  It was the eve of Easter (March 24th according to the calendars of their time) when Laoghaire, High King of Ireland, was also celebrating an ancient druidic ritual and festival with the people from the land.  It was a sacred lighting of a fire said to symbolize the “resurrection of the life-giving sun from the winter’s death”.  So on that eve this WAS to be the first fire lit from the royal hill.  St. Patrick and his team had other plans; they strategically posted up on the hill across from the royal hill and camped out until the darkness came.   It was in this darkness when St. Patrick lit up a flame that challenged and defied all that the druids stood for!  This defying flame was seen by the king and all the druids and enraged them.  The account told by Muirchu (7th Century biographer)

“And St. Patrick was called to the king outside the place where the fire had been kindled.  And the magicians said to their people, “let us not rise up at the approach of this fellow; for whosoever rises up at the approach of this fellow will afterwards believe in him and worship him.”

At last Patrick rose; and when he saw their many chariots and horses, he came to them, singing with voice and heart, very appropriately, the following verse of the Psalmist:  “Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God.”  They, however, did not rise at his approach.  But only one, helped by the Lord, who willed not to obey the words of the magicians, rose up.  This was Ercc, the son of Daig, whose relics are now venerated in the city called Slane.  And Patrick blessed him; and he believed in the everlasting God.

And when they began to parley with one another, the second magician, named Lochru, was insolent in the Saint’s presence, and had the audacity, with swelling words to disparage the Catholic faith.  As he uttered such things, St. Patrick regarded him with a stern glance, as Peter once looked on Simon; and powerfully, with a loud voice, he confidently addressed the Lord and said, “O Lord, Who canst do all things, and in Whose power all things hold together, and who hast sent me hither-as for this impious man who blasphemes Thy name, let him now be taken out of this and die speedily.”  And when he had spoken thus, the magician was caught up into the air, and then let fall from above, and, his skull striking on a rock, he was dashed to pieces and killed before their faces; and the heathen folk were dismayed.”

St. Patrick knew that he had to bring this message of love and power to the top.  I believe it was displayed in a very eye opening way with this encounter that was just described.  After gaining this type of attention from the head of the land St. Patrick continued to spread the gospel through out the rest of the land.  If the kings or leaders of a tribe were not converted on the spot, he would get access for him and his team to set up camp near the people of the village.  It was here where they were able to organize a “community” center.  The team would then engage with the village people through conversation, ministry, prayer, preaching, as well as the visual arts.  The Irish people are very well known for their visual arts, this was one of the things that Patrick was able to pick up on in his time as a slave.  The ministry team would spend weeks to months in a place until they felt led by the Lord to build a Church.  St. Patrick would baptize and disciple the converts in this time and raise them up.  Patrick and his team would go from tribe to tribe doing this same thing.  They would often leave behind one of his disciples to pastor one of the newly established churches and the cycle would continue!

Mind you in this time, the successors of the bishops that sent St. Patrick on this mission to Ireland were not rejoicing in all the good news that was being shared. No, they were angered that he was spending priority time with the “barbarians”, “sinners”, and “pagans”! Of course this happened to Jesus as well.

(Croagh Patrick, St. Patrick spent 40 days of fasting on this mountain in prayer for the people of Ireland)

The reason St. Patrick was so successful in his mission was because of his apostolic approach, it was more of a movement than an institution. His ministry was set up in a way to convert whole tribe’s not just individuals.  Because of his “mission stations” the faith was more caught than taught.  It is said that he baptized many thousands of people in his time as well as planting nearly 700 churches and ordaining close to 1,000 priests! With his strong mission movement St. Patrick was able to convert about 30-40 if not more, of the 150 tribes in Ireland!  Patrick also preached against slavery and was able to see the end of the Irish slave trade in his time.

Remember these “barbarians” that no one wanted to approach?  Do you have any one in you life that you look at as impossible to reach?  May the life of St. Patrick inspire you and show you that nothing is impossible with the Living God.  His ministry lasted 28 years, but because the model that he left, many were able to be saved years later.

Irish Prayer:

Three folds of the cloth, yet only one napkin is there,

Three joints in the finger, but still only one finger fair;

Three leaves of the shamrock, yet no more than one shamrock to wear,

Frost, snow-flakes and ice, all in water their origin share,

Three Persons in God, to one God alone we make prayer.

Well with that being said, I will be going on my FIRST MISSIONS TRIP TOMORROW!  My wife and I will be going to Mexicali with our church for a week!  I am really excited and can’t wait to serve and minister the good news! Pray for us this week.

God Bless,

Patrick Judah

p.s. check out this IHOP St. Patrick’s celebration! http://www.ihop.org/Articles/1000047198/International_House_of/Resources/IHOP_KC_Video/Home_Page/Misc/St_Patricks_Day.aspx

Source:  The  Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the  Wes... by  George G. Hunter III The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West…Again – George G. Hunter III

Source:  Sixteen Centuries With Ireland’s Patron Saint Patrick- Alice-Boyd Proudfoot

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The Saint, Not the Day Pt. 1

“The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins.” St. Patrick

Because this week is celebrated in memory of St. Patrick, this will be the first of three articles of the Saint’s life.  Consider this a, “mystic of the month BONUS” for those of you that follow the site.  In this post I will cover Ireland before Saint Patrick and Patrick before his Sainthood. To start I would like to clear up some things related to the day of Saint Patrick that have nothing to do with the man of God or his amazing ministry.

If you think you know all about St. Patrick, let’s get one thing straight…Saint Patrick was not Irish! I know it sounds crazy, so if you thought he was, you might get more out of this article than you expected!

Have you ever thought about why there are no other Saint “days” observed (not counting St. Valentine), what makes Saint Patrick so special as to have his own feast and celebration day? If you can answer that, I would then like to ask why this day is observed in places across the world?  Now, here in a America I’ve “celebrated” St. Patrick’s day just like most Americans…using it as another excuse to get wasted by slamming down “Irish Car Bombs”.  Yes, in the name of a saint that I thought I knew all about!  I thought he was all about: The color green, Guinness n Baileys’ Irish Cream, shamrocks, leprechauns, and casting out snakes…I was wrong!

Let us take a look at Ireland before St. Patrick arrived.  The land was filled with a variety of Celtic “clans” that were very prideful, which caused a 1,000 year war between the clans and kingdoms of that territory.  Each clan was fierce on its own, but they were never able to unify in order to advance against Rome.  One way to look at it came from a zoologist:

“A tiger will defeat a lion in battle; but five lions will defeat five tigers because the lions fight together and the tigers do not, so the five lions take on one tiger at a time.”1

The Celtic clans were “tigers” fighting the Roman “lions” so to speak.  The Roman army eventually pushed the Celtic clans west, close to their current locations.  The clans grew and prospered individually.  The religion at the time was an animistic polytheism, which worshiped sun and moon as well as natural objects.  The leaders were known as druids; they had white robes, magic wands, and sacrificed their firstborns to the idol, Crom Crauch.  Note that each clan was distinct from one another and they did not do everything the same. To the outside “world”, these Celtic people looked like “barbarians”. This is a point as to why Christianity did not impact Ireland until St. Patrick landed there.  The Roman Church in that day thought a people had to be “civilized” enough before they could be “Christianized”.  It is believed that Christians came to evangelize in Ireland before St. Patrick, such as Palladius who was ordained by Pope Celestine to do so; as well as others that may have been taken captive there.  Of course no one was able to spread the Gospel through Ireland like St. Patrick did.

Now, let us glance at Patrick before he was a Saint in Ireland.  Patrick was born in the village of Bannavem Taberniae (exact location unknown), to a Christian family.  It is said that his father was a deacon, and his grandfather a priest.  With this being said, there is not much known about Patrick’s early family life, but I would guess that he grew up knowing a little bit about the Bible.  When Patrick was sixteen years of age, he was captured by Celtic pirates and taken away to Ireland.  He was then sold to a tribal chief named Miliucc, who put him to work tending his flocks.   Remarkably, it was in this time that Patrick drew near to God. He said in his own writings,

“Now, after I came to Ireland, tending flocks was my daily occupation, and constantly I used to pray in the day time.  Love of God and the fear of Him increased more and more, and faith grew, and the spirit was moved, so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night nearly as many, so that I used to stay even in the woods and on the mountain to this end.  And before daybreak I used to be roused to prayer, in snow, in frost, in rain; and I felt no hurt, nor was there any sluggishness in me.”2

Sounds like day and night prayer to me!  Then one night after his six years of captivity, he heard the voice of God. “Thou fastest to good purpose, thou who art soon to go to thy fatherland.” Again he heard, “Lo, thy ship is ready.” So at daybreak he took off and eventually found the ship!  At first he talked to the Captain, by offering his service, but in reply he got, “On no account seek to go with us.” Patrick, disappointed started to walk away when he heard them call him back.  The sailors received him saying, “Come, for we will receive thee in good faith; make friends with us in any way thou desirest.” Sounds like some favor to me! So the ship took off and Patrick made his way back to his homeland.

Join me next time as I will be continuing the journey of St. Patrick from his time back “home”, to his exciting missionary trip back to his slave land that he ended up making his lifelong mission field and resting place.  I’ll tell you one thing, his time in slavery was not in vain!

Until next time,

Patrick Judah

Source:  The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the  Wes... by George G. Hunter III The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West…Again – George G. Hunter III

Source:  Sixteen Centuries With Ireland’s Patron Saint Patrick- Alice-Boyd Proudfoot



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“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” St. Augustine

Augustine of Hippo is known as one of the main influences of “Western Christianity” today.  He grew up with a father that was a pagan and a mother that was Catholic.  In his early years he pursued ill doctrine until he was radically “converted”!

Augustine found himself broken and crying out to the Lord; his heart was restless and he was looking for answers.  While he was in this state of brokenness he heard what must have been a child near by saying, “Take up and read; Take up and read.” Augustine explained what took place after in his book of “Confessions” as, “Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words: nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find.”

What chapter was this you might ask? Romans 13:13-14

Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

Continued in his “Confessions”, “No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.”

Have you ever had a scripture impact you in this way?  Look at the transformation that it brought to Augustine; it launched him into his new beginnings in Christ.  As believers in Jesus, shouldn’t we always come to His word this way….DAILY?

Augustine once said, “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”

Not long after this conversion, Augustine was baptized and within 10 years he was the head bishop in Hippo.  His teachings and theology heavily influenced Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin.  His theological ideas and writings were not perfect, but he brought forth truth in many areas.  His thoughts on the trinity were, “Since on account of their ineffable union these three are together one God, why not also one person.” Which I believe as a mysterious truth that will be revealed in all it’s GLORY soon!!!  I believe Augustine also shed some new light on the topic of Grace by saying, “It is also gratuitous and unmerited in that it is unconditionally given only on the ground of God’s infinite mercy and undeserved favor.” We can not earn His Grace!!!

Again, his teachings and theologies were not perfect…but he definitely brought the course of church HISTORY into a new arena!  Where  is the church going today? Are you going to be apart of it?  I would encourage you to continue to root yourself in the WORD while asking the Holy Spirit to reveal what He is truly saying to His Church!

Remember, “There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.” Augustine of Hippo

Go Deeper,

Patrick Judah

(sources: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Augustine_of_Hippo#Works


The “New Mystics” – John Crowder)

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Whoever has not begun the practice of prayer, I beg for the love of the Lord not to go without so great a good. There is nothing here to fear but only something to desire.

Saint Teresa of Avila desired to seek God at a very young age.  She loved to learn of the Saints while pursuing a life of prayer and blessing the poor.  At the age of 14 her mother passed and in this lose of a loving and encouraging role model she found herself being distracted with things of the world. She was 14 when these distractions started…at what age are American kids distracted by things of this world?

She was encouraged by her father to enter into a local convent in hopes to rekindle her passion for the Lord.  She fell sick and returned home.  After recovering she knew that she wanted to become a nun and left home against her fathers will to enter into the Incarnation of the Carmelite nuns in Avila.  Again she fell ill (malaria) and experienced tremendous pain and suffering.  Through this time of her illness she was in a coma for three days and was not able to use her legs for three years.

It was in this time of pain and suffering when her prayer life increased to phenomenal levels of ecstasy in the Presence of the Lord.  She spent many hours in meditation with what she called, “prayer of quiet” and the “prayer of union”. These encounters continued to take place even though she never sought after these “mystical experiences”, but kept herself to the will of God and counted the experiences as “divine blessings”.

As you could imagine, many of those around her found her, “experiences”, to be bizarre and not from the Lord.  Regardless, her encounters were revealed from the Lord in her passion and pursuit of constantly going deeper in prayer with the Lord.  History has revealed to us that those with lifestyles of prayer often hear and encounter the Lord in mysterious ways, beyond that of the average believer (if there could be such a thing???).

One vision that Teresa had was described as this, “I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it…

WHOA!!!  Truly incredible and mind blowing!  “So surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it“??? Think about that!

While St. Teresa continued in this way of unceasing prayer she was also founding convents that focused on this same way of life.  She joined with like-minded “mystic”, John of the Cross and they started reforming the order for men as well.  This new “reform” of the Carmelite order became known as the “Discalced” or barefoot, Carmelites.  Of course her radical lifestyle for the Lord and the influence that she brought into the Catholic sphere was eventually persecuted to the point of her being forced to “retire”.  During these times she also wrote some inspiring books that I hope to read soon, “The Way of Perfection”, “Life” (autobiography), and “The Interior Castle”.

In the midst of the persecution she continued to seek after the Lord, all the while being brought into new levels of trances, levitations, visions, and much more.  She knew that prayer is the place to hear and experience the Lord; so she did that continually, not to receive these things but to get closer to Him!

And I will leave you with this, “Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All things pass; God never changes Patience attains All that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.” St. Teresa

(sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teresa_of_Ávila

http://www.karmel.at/eng/teresa.htm )

Stay tuned for next months Mystic: Augustine of Hippo

Thanks for reading,

Patrick Judah

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