Why You Should Crusade

THE EARTH HS BEEN SHAKEN and has trembled, because the Lord has caused his land to lose territory. His land, I repeat, where he was seen and in which he lived among men for more than thirty years. His land, which he honored by his birth, embellished by his miracles, consecrated with his blood, and enriched by his bruial. His land, in which the voice of the turtledove was heard when the son of the Virgin praised the life of chastity. His land, where the first flowers of his Resurrection appeared.

Evil men have begun to occupy this land of the new promise, and unless someone resists them, they will be feasting their eyes upon the sanctuary of our religion and will try to stain that very bed, on which for our sake slept our life in death; they will profane the Holy Places—the places, I say, purpled with the blood of the immaculate Lamb.

I have something else to say which ought to move a Christian man’s heart, however hard it is. Our king [Jesus] is accused of treachery; it is said of him [by the Muslims] that he is not God, but that he falsely pretended to be something he was not. Any man among you who is his vassal ought to rise up to defend his lord from the infamous accusation of treachery; he should go to the sure fight, where to win will be glorious, and where to die will be gain.

Why are you delaying, servants of the cross, why are you deceiving yourselves, you who have great physical strength and many worldly goods? Take the sign of the cross and the supreme pontiff, the vicar of him to whom it was said, Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven, offers you this full indulgence of all the crimes you confess with contrite hearts. Take the gift that is offered to you and race one another to be the first to take advantage of the irrecoverable opportunity of the indulgence. I ask you and advise you not to want to put your own business before the business of Christ.

By Bernard of Clairvaux

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #40 in 1993]

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