Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saint Aelred

Today as Cistercians we celebrate the life and teaching of our own Saint Aelred of Rievaulx, a 12th-century monk of Great Britain. In his well-known treatise, Spiritual Friendship, Saint Aelred declares rather boldly that "God is friendship." This is his own gloss on Saint John's words, "God is love." And clearly it expresses Aelred's own experience of God's intimacy.

If God can indeed be named "friendship," as Saint Aelred proposes, we can imagine the awesome implications. We could say then that God is spontaneous, gentle, available, most understanding, etc. Could God be at least as good as our best friend?