Today the church remembers Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167.Aelred, son of a Christian priest of Hexham, England, through his skill at getting along with people, became Master of the Household of the King of Scotland. His patience and firm but gentle bearing earned him both the love and respect of the court. Many tears were shed when he left Scotland at the age of twenty-four to embrace the austere life of a Cistercian monk at Rievaulx in Yorkshire. There he pursued with rigor the friendship of Jesus Christ, gladly submitting to mortification and hard labor, to constant prayer, meditation, and study. “This is the yoke,” he said, “which does not crush but liberates the soul; this burden has wings, not weight.” Gracious and sensitive toward his fellow monks, Aelred became Abbot of Revesby in Lincolnshire and later abbot of the great monastery at Rievaulx. There he presided over some three hundred monks. Under Aelred"s leadership the community became a living model of peace and charity, a true colony of the kingdom of heaven. There he wrote his book, Spiritual Friendship, warmly extolling the joy and strength of friendships, divine and human. Teach us, O Lord Christ, the goodness of holy work, and be our Friend that we may befriend those in need. Amen.
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Almighty God, you endowed the abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: Grant to your people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of your eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.