Born in 1110, St Aelred died at Rievaulx (Yorkshire) in 1167. The son of a priest, he was educated at Durham and in the household of King David of Scotland. In 1134 he visited the newly founded Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx and was so attracted to the place and its life that he chose to become a monk there, and was eventually elected abbot. He is remembered for his gift for friendship, for his sensitive and gentle rule, and for his enduringly popular spiritual writings.
We owe her honor because she is the Mother of our Lord. Let us come to God’s bride, let us come to our Savior’s mother, let us come to the best of God’s handmaidens. All of these descriptions fit Blessed Mary.
But what are we to do for her? What sort of gifts shall we offer her?
O that we might at least repay to her the debt we owe her! We owe her honor, we owe her devotion, we owe her love, we owe her praise. We owe her honor because she is the Mother of our Lord. He who does not honor the mother will without doubt dishonor the son. Besides, Scripture says: ‘Honor your father and your mother.’
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? Is she not our mother? Certainly, friends, she is in truth our mother. Through her, we are born, not to the world but to God.
We all, as you believe and know, were in death, in the infirmity of old age, in darkness, in misery. In death, because we had lost the Lord; in the infirmity of old age, because we were in corruption; in darkness, because we had lost the light of wisdom, and so we had altogether perished.
But through Blessed Mary, we all underwent a much better birth than through Eve, inasmuch as Christ was born of Mary. Instead of the infirmity of age, we have regained youth, instead of corruption, incorruption, instead of darkness, light.
She is our mother, mother of our life, of our incorruption, of our light. The Apostle says of our Lord, ‘Whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, and redemption.
She therefore who is the mother of Christ is the mother of our wisdom, mother of our righteousness, mother of our sanctification, mother of our redemption. Therefore she is more our mother than the mother of our flesh. Better, therefore, is our birth which we derive from Mary, for from her is our holiness, our wisdom; our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption.
Scripture says, ‘Praise the Lord in his saints’. If our Lord is to be praised in those saints through whom he performs mighty works and miracles, how much more should he be praised in her in whom he fashioned himself, he who is wonderful beyond all wonder.