Blessed Guerric of Igny (1070-80 – 1160) is a stellar example of someone who followed in the example of St Bernard of Clairvaux’s ministry of preaching. Abbot Guerric is remembered for his preaching (see the collections of sermons published by Cistercians Publications). He was skilled at the coalescing sacred Scripture and philosophy, taking biblical types and making the application to Christ and Christian discipleship. It is said that Guerric was the medieval preacher of “God’s grace in biblical imagery.”
The intellectual and spiritual formation of Guerric happened first in a cathedral setting as the master of the school, and then in the Clarivaux Abbey. He was in a short time elected the second abbot of the Cistercian community at Igny.
Brethren, it is the command of our gentle and peace-making Master that we should be at peace with one another. Yet before that he says: Have salt in yourselves. He knows well that peaceful gentleness nourishes vices unless the severity of zeal has first sprinkled them with the sharp taste of salt, just as mild weather causes meat to grow wormy unless the heat of salt has dried it out. Therefore be at peace with one another, but let it be a peace that is seasoned with the salt of wisdom; try to acquire gentleness, but let it be a gentleness filled with the warmth of faith. (Blessed Guerric of Igny, Sermo IV in festo S. Benedicti: PL 185,111-112).
The value of knowing Guerric of Igny is first as a Cistercian monastic father, but also as an eloquent preacher of Grace calling us into deeper communio with the Most Blessed Trinity.