Spiritual Friendship is today the best known and perhaps most influential of the thirteen surviving works of Aelred, abbot of the great English Cistercian abbey of . Spiritual Friendship (Monastic Studies) [Aelred of Rievaulx] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Throughout his life, Aelred took great joy in. Spiritual Friendship has ratings and 39 reviews. Sally said: This short book was written in the form of a dialog between the author, Aelred (

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The work itself is only 76 pages, there is a 50 page scholarly introduction put on to the start of the book. During his abbacy he built Rievaulx into a place of spiritual welcome and physical prosperity, desiring to make it “a mother of mercy” to those in need.

The work itself is divided up into three smaller books and all are written in the form of a conversation between monks. It is fair to say that Aelred’s discussion of spiritual friendship centres on questions that the modern mind does not ponder.

You are ever the same has allotted to all his creatures these three gifts in common: In this knowledge we should choose one who is fit to friendshp the companion of your soul, to whom you can entrust yourself as to another self.

The book is full of solid wisdom for example: One of the best books that I’ve read. Aelred spent several years at the court of King David I of Scotland in Roxburgh, possibly from the age of 14, rising to the rank of echonomus often translated aelrd or “Master of the Household” before leaving the court at age twenty-four in to enter the Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx in Yorkshire.

Spiritual Friendship

And so spiritual friendship is born among good people through the similarity of their characters, goals, and habits of life. In our day, or at least in my life, true friendship seems to be rare and undervalued. This cannot be too easily set aside; the age of friendship in which we are situated had a reliance on such classics and Cicero, these were firmly established within the literary culture to which Aelred was well frequented.


After his retirement inhe devoted himself to Cistercian scholarship, publishing numerous articles and translating in four volumes all the works of the English Cistercian abbot Gilbert of Hoyland.

For example, advice–presumably ported wholesale aelted Cicero–about worldly goods, bribery, and friendship has been included when monks, particularly Cistercian monks of the twelfth century, would not have had personal property to distribute.

Aelred of Rievaulx

As we said above, the spiritual Sabbath is rest for the spirit, peace of heart, and tranquility of mind. Aelred came from a family of married priests, his father and grandfather both ministered in Hexham, the last of a dying generation as Rome sought to impose its standard on the far western Celtic Christian tradition. Inhe was elected abbot of Rievaulx itself, a position he was to hold until his death. I actually read a version that had commentary associated with each chapter which was helpful at times and redundant at other times.

For what can one say about Friendship that is more sublime, more truthful, more useful, than that friendship will be shown to be formed in Christ, friendshhip according to Christ, and perfected by Christ? The fountain and source of friendship Is love.

Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx

And thus Sovereign Nature has established all natures, has arranged all things in their places, and has discreetly distributed all things in their own times. Yet more pertinent for the purposes of this criendship is the acknowledgement spiritul reform entailed not only breaking-away but, breaking-into what Cistercianism meant; it took Aelred and many of his contemporaries beyond theological speculation to understanding their lived encounter with God.

This is the kind of book to meditate on and come back to.

He references Cicero and his treatise on friendship which I picked up for later readingbut presents his thoughts on friendship, sharing his experience–mostly from his time being a monk. Oct 21, Fr. But what happiness, what security, what joy to have someone to whom you dare to speak on terms of equality as to spjritual self; one to whom you need have no fear to confess your failings; one to whom you can unblushingly make known what progress you have made in the spiritual life; one to whom you can entrust all the secrets of your heart and before whom you can place all your plans!


Much of what he has to say would fly in the face of today’s outlook, but it certainly resonates with the desire of a soul to seek companionship and spiritual communion in the journey of life. The book is presented in a dialogue format with Aelred talking to some younger monks about friendship. This fresh new translation makes the work crisply readable, allowing the intellectual and Christian insight of this great Cistercian teacher and writer to speak clearly to today’s seekers of love, wisdom, and truth.

He has willed, moreover, for so his eternal reason has directed, that peace encompass all his creatures and society unite them; and thus all creatures obtain from him, who is supremely and purely one, frienddship trace of that unity.

The great flaw of this treatise is that it assumes that friendship is a categorical affair: Want to Read saving…. Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx.

Identifies the characteristics of a worthy and conversely, unworthy friendship.

Spiritual Friendship – Aelred of Rievaulx – Google Books

You have all the wealth, have complete Edenic mastery over animals, but are you happy? To ask other readers questions about Spiritual Friendshipplease sign up. He references Cicero and his psiritual on friendship which I picked up for later readingbut presents his thoughts on friendship, sharing his experience–mostly from his t Aelred was a Scot from the 12th century.

In our subject the primary texts reveal a person who is disposed to self-disclosure. Despite all challenges, the rewards of true friendship are worth the effort.

Throughout the dialogue, in fact, Aelred and his several companions express their wish to be alone with each other, to exclude others, meaning other friwndship, from their conversation and thus from Aelred’s lessons. Aelred answers their questions about the nature of friendship–its benefits and pitfalls and aeleed it is to be cultivated.

Under his administration, the abbey is said to have grown to some monks and conversi and laymen. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link.