The gospel account of the Boy Jesus in the temple has as one of its themes obedience, doing one’s duty, whether to God by listening to His Word, or to man, such as one’s parents. I’ve never heard of St. Aelred before this, but this quote caught my eye. It’s excerpted from a letter he wrote to someone, so it’s technically not a sermon, but it has a fine sermonic tone throughout. This quote touched me because Aelred expresses simply, honestly, and beautifully the willingness to serve and submit that’s engenedered by the gospel. God’s Word is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, and that Word produces fruits of faith in our lives, such as obedience. He made me want to live obediently and humbly in response to God’s grace, and in that sense he successfully expounded this text. This is a fine example of why the fathers make such good devotional reading. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
He went down with them, and was subject to them. Tranquilly He goes down with such a guardian, with such a Mother. Happily does He go down, who moved by the Spirit of God lovingly helps those weaker than Himself. Willingly would I go, even into Egypt (Hell) with such guides, if only, leading me there, they lead me back again; should they bring me there, that they enable me to return. Joyfully would I submit myself to such teachers: with pleasure would I bow my shoulders to the burden they impose: willingly would I take upon me the yoke they would place on me, knowing that their yoke is sweet, their burden light: aided by His grace of Whose Boyhood we have been speaking, Who was filled with power, and grace, and wisdom, Jesus Christ Our Lord Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth world without end, Amen.
–St. Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx, from Jesus Twelve Years Old