Savor Things Above

From “Sermon for Easter Day” (ca. 1160)

As our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to be born for us, to be tempted for us, to be beaten for us, and to die for us, so also did he deign to rise for us… Because we had suffered all of these things in the soul, our Lord Jesus wished to suffer all of them in his body, and, through the sufferings of his body, to cure the sufferings of our soul. And because Christ suffered all these things for us, so that he then rose from the dead, without a doubt where he rise we too have risen. “If therefore you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above” (Col. 3:1).

But we must see to whom the apostle Paul spoke: undoubtedly to those who have risen with Christ. And who are those who rise with Christ except those who share in all that Christ has suffered. I am silent about other people, but I wonder whether the apostles speaks especially to you – to you who certainly have suffered many temptations, as if you were being beaten with Christ; to you who die with Christ through daily labors and tribulations; to you who are, as it were, buried… You who suffer all these things, not in your soul against Christ, but in your body for Christ. For now you have risen in the soul; afterward you will arise in your body. Therefore, “seek the things that are above” …

The children of Israel greatly desired to leave Egypt, to throw off the service of Pharoah, and to sacrifice in solitude to God. But afterward, but afterward, when they had come into solitude when they had seen the miracles and signs that the Lord did their sight, when they had tasted the heavenly manna, they began to have a greater desire for the food of Egypt. They desired the flesh pots and felt distaste for the manna.

Therefore, brothers, it is not enough if you have sought the truth, it is not enough if you have sought and found the things that are above. Savor also the things that are above. Savor, that is, frequently meditate upon and thoroughly consider how great is the excellent of truth, what security there is in purity, what happiness in the service of God… May God give us both the intention and the power to bring it to completion by his own good will.

St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) was an English Cistercian monk and spiritual writer who served as abbot of Rievaulx in Yorkshire from 1147 until his death. He wrote several histories and spiritual treatises, as well as On Spiritual Friendship, which draws on Cicero and St. Augustine to describe how true friendship is rooted in fellowship in Christ. His feast day is January 12. This translation by Marie Anne Mayeski, is from Aelred of Rievaulx: The Liturgical Sermons – Christmas through All Saints (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016).


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