St Bernard of Montjoux

(entered heaven this day around 1082)

Dear Bert,

So you have decided on business school, eh?  Well, congratulations on finally making a decision!  I know how nerve-wracking that can be. Don’t fret it though, all we can do is think through our options, get sound advice, ask God for light, and then make what seems the best decision.  God will honor that. And if we misunderstand his signals, he’ll put things right when the time is ripe. Having a little bit of experience in the business world myself (before my capture and imprisonment, that is), I will be so bold as to offer one little piece of advice, taken from the example of today’s saint.

Bernard was a model priest and pastor, tirelessly traveling by foot up and down the cliffs and mountains of his Alpine diocese (where he was vicar general) of Aosta (right on the northwest border of Italy).  Rough country, far away from major cities and population centers, his diocese was in many ways in disarray. For forty-four years he established schools, educated and reformed the clergy, improved the upkeep of churches, and hiked into the remotest nooks and crannies to enlighten pockets of ancient paganism that had escaped previous missionaries.  His most memorable ministry, however, was that of helping travelers in need. Pilgrims from all across Europe made their way back and forth from Rome through two key mountain passes that crossed his diocese. They were treacherous roads, strewn with the remains of frozen, starved, and murdered folk. He set to work and built some hospices at the peak of each pass, safe havens for all travelers regardless of their class or rank.  He also built a monastery to house laity and clergy dedicated to ministering to the needs of all travelers. To this very day, you can go and take advantage of this Christian hospitality.

Which brings me to my point.  Those hospices could be considered mightily successful businesses, having endured for a whole millennium.  And the reason is simple: they serve a real and legitimate need. You see, that is the heart of a business pleasing to God: serving people’s needs, dignifying people’s lives, enabling them to achieve their highest and most worthy ideals.  If you always keep in mind that business ought to serve the interests of the whole human family by meeting a real need (not inventing a need in order to milk people for the benefit of a few greedy bloodsuckers), well then, I think you will be on your way to becoming the patron saint of businessmen.

God bless, Uncle Eddy

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