Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167

12 January -- Lesser Festival -- Religious -- White

Aelred was born at Hexham in 1109. His father was a priest and he entered the Cistercian Order at Rievaulx in about 1133, after spending some years in the court of King David of Scotland. He became Abbot of Revesby in 1143 and returned to Rievaulx four years later to become abbot and to spend the remainder of his life. He was profoundly influential through his spiritual writings, which he began at the request of Bernard of Clairvaux, the two having a similar approach to the spiritual life. Because of this, Aelred was often called "The Bernard of the North". He died on this day at Rievaulx in 1167.

Collect

Almighty God,
who endowed Aelred the abbot
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,
so that, in loving one another,
we may know the love of Christ
and rejoice in the eternal possession
   of your supreme goodness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Ecclesiasticus.

Whoever fears the Lord will do this, and whoever holds to the law will obtain wisdom. She will come to meet him like a mother, and like a young bride she will welcome him. She will feed him with the bread of learning, and give him the water of wisdom to drink. He will lean on her and not fall, and he will rely on her and not be put to shame. She will exalt him above his neighbours, and will open his mouth in the midst of the assembly. He will find gladness and a crown of rejoicing, and will inherit an everlasting name.

This is the word of the Lord.         Ecclesiasticus 15. 1-6

Responsorial Psalm

RLord, may we drink of the water of wisdom
[and be fed with the bread of life].
O Lord, I am not proud;
I have no haughty looks.
I do not occupy myself with great matters
or with things that are too hard for me. R

But I still my soul and make it quiet,
like a child upon its mother's breast;
my soul is quieted within me. R

O Israel, wait upon the Lord,
from this time forth for evermore. R         Psalm 131

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians.

Whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

This is the word of the Lord.         Philippians 3. 7-14

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

"Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessèd are those servants whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Luke 12. 32-37

Post Communion

Merciful God,
who gave such grace to your servant Aelred
that he served you with singleness of heart
and loved you above all things:
help us, whose communion with you
   has been renewed in this sacrament,
to forsake all that holds us back from following Christ
and to grow into his likeness from glory to glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.