Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church


You brought into being the everlasting structure of the world by what you did. You, Lord, made the earth. You who are faithful in all generations, righteous in judgment, marvelous in strength and majesty, wise in creating, prudent in making creation endure, visibly good, kind to those who trust in you.1


God by his grace takes away the stony heart from unbelievers and forestalls merit in people of good will in such a way that their will is prepared by what goes before grace, but that grace is not given through some merit of human will.2


We must consider the new heart and the new spirit that are given after the pouring and sprinkling of water. When a new heart and a new spirit are given, all hardness is taken away from the Jewish heart, which is compared with a heart of stone, and instead of a heart of stone there is a heart of flesh, soft and tender, which can receive the spirit of God within it and be written with the words of salvation. Then they will walk in the precepts of the Lord and will keep his judgments.3


These things did not happen before the coming of the Lord Christ. Since they had three prophets after the return to Jerusalem, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, they were immediately deprived of the gift of prophecy. But after our God and Savior was made man and ascended into the heavens, and the Holy Spirit came on the holy apostles, through them grace was given not only to the Jews but also to all those from the peoples who came to faith. He calls a heart of stone one that is antagonistic and rebellious, and a heart of flesh, one that is compliant and obedient to what it is told, and is able to draw out the meaning of the divine writings … this is the mark of a spirit of grace, which assists our free will and ensures that what has been said proceeds in due course.4


  1. 1 CLEMENT 60.1. Stevenson, K., & Gluerup, M. (Eds.). (2008). Ezekiel, Daniel (p. 118). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. LETTER 217. Stevenson, K., & Gluerup, M. (Eds.). (2008). Ezekiel, Daniel (p. 119). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. COMMENTARY ON EZEKIEL 11.36.16–38. Stevenson, K., & Gluerup, M. (Eds.). (2008). Ezekiel, Daniel (p. 119). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. COMMENTARY ON EZEKIEL 14.36. Stevenson, K., & Gluerup, M. (Eds.). (2008). Ezekiel, Daniel (pp. 119–120). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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