The Corner

Bernard of Clairvaux

From a Marine chaplain:

Famous Christian hymn, by Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), set to its modern harmony by Bach – O Sacred Head, Now Wounded – has always informed my understanding of collective guilt in regards to Jesus’ crucifixion, especially the 2nd verse:

What thou, my Lord, hast suffered

Was all for sinners’ gain;

Mine, mine was the transgression,

But thine the deadly pain.

Lo, here I fall, my saviour!

’Tis I deserve thy place.

Look on me with thy favour,

Vouchsafe to me thy grace.

(tr. From German by J. W. Alexander approx. 1840)

That line – “Mine, mine was the transgression…” – gets me every time I sing it around Good Friday/Passover.