Memorial of St. Aelred of Rievaulx

Scripture Readings: Heb 2:5-12;  Mk 1:21-28 

A basic theme in the ascetical writings of St. Aelred of Rievaulx is that “what each one has belongs to all, and what all possess belongs to each one.” 1  St. Aelred repeats this five times in his writings, applying it not only to material goods, like clothing and food, but also to spiritual goods like the virtues of prayer and fasting, humility and charity, and even to eternal goods like our happiness in heaven.  He writes, “The happiness of each belongs to all, and the sum total of happiness in the whole universe belongs to each one individually.” 

Such is our union with each other as Christians in the Body of Christ, and as monks in a Cistercian community.  We are like a football team.  When the Green Bay Packers win a game, the victory belongs to the whole team and the happiness of all is shared by each player, and not only by the players but also by the viewers. When we go to heaven, we won’t say, “I’m saved, I made it.”  We will rejoice with each other saying, “We made it, we’re saved.”  The multiple friendships we share on earth will be expanded by the plentitude of heaven, where all will be friends sharing the happiness of everyone all at once and forever!   

1. Charles Dumont, Personalism in Community According to Aelred of Rievaulx, Cistercian Studies, v. 12, 1977, 250-271.