The Cross: A Way of Life
Saint Aelred, the English 12th century abbot of Rievaulx, has long been a dear friend. “Our order”, he wrote, “is the Cross of Christ.” In saying this, Saint Aelred uses the word order to signify, not an institutional organization, but a way of life. For Saint Aelred, the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the very pattern of monastic life.
The Spacious Peace of Charity
Plagued all his life by bad health, Aelred administered his abbey of more than six hundred monks from the infirmary, often gathering the brethren around his bed for familiar spiritual chats. Saint Aelred used to say:
It is the singular and supreme glory of the house of Rievaulx that above all else it teaches tolerance of the infirm and compassion with others in their necessities. All whether weak or strong should find in Rievaulx a haunt of peace, and there, like the fish in the broad seas, possess the welcome, happy, spacious peace of charity.
Christ, the Dearest Friend of All
Saint Aelred saw friendship not as a