Bernard was one of the great leaders in the history of the Church. He was an eloquent speaker and considered by many to be one of the holiest individuals who ever lived. He grew up in Dijon, France, and at the age of twenty-two entered as a novice in the monastery of Citeaux. Three years later he was appointed to supervise a group of his fellow monks in the newly founded monastery at Clairvaux. Though he was offered high positions in the church, Bernard remained at Clairvaux until his death.
Thanks to careful preservation over the centuries, many of Bernard's writings have survived today. His works had a profound influence on both Martin Luther and John Calvin. One of his most well-known works is his treatise On the Love of God. In it Bernard incisively outlines his famous "four degrees of love."