New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1954. First edition. Tall octavo (9 3/5 inches tall), half black cloth spine with device in silver, green cloth boards, yellow endpapers, all edges yellow, original dust jacket. About-fine book, faint toning to unclipped dust jacket. An excellent copy. Item #973
"LOOK UP AT THE STAR, CALL UPON MARY" First edition of Thomas Merton's study of Bernard of Clairvaux, together with Pope Pius XII's May 1953 encyclical in praise of the great Cistercian saint. A Doctor of the Church, Bernard has been called "the last of the Fathers of the Church" in honor of his fundamental role in the development of medieval spirituality. The book opens with Merton's biographical consideration of 'The Man and the Saint,' followed by 'Saint Bernard's Writings,' a summary of the thousands of pages of Bernard's sermons, treatises and letters. Merton's introductory Notes on the Encyclical precedes an English translation of "The Mellifluous Doctor, the Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Pius XII on the occasion of the eighth centenary of the death of Saint Bernard." Merton places Bernard of Clairvaux at the summit of Marian theology in the Middle Ages: "Saint Bernard stands at a critical point in the development of theological teaching on the Mother of God." The Pope—perhaps in anticipation of the impending Marian year—warmly evokes Bernard's conception of Mary as the Star of the Sea, "praise of Mary than which there is perhaps none more beautiful, more apt to excite love for her, more useful for stirring devotion and inspiring imitation of her virtuous example." The Mother of God, Bernard reminds us, is always ready to aid us in time of trial: "When the storms of temptation burst upon thee, when thou seest thyself driven upon the rocks of tribulation, look up at the star, call upon Mary" Dedicated by Merton to the medievalist Etienne Gilson (the bibliography lists three of Gilson's books, including The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, 1949). Approbations, including the imprimatur of Francis Cardinal Spellman. Dell'Isola, A19.