The universe is a product of God's infinite love, according to the expansive thinking of Aelred of Rievaulx, a Cistercian abbot of the Middle Ages. Aelred sees human existence, order, and action as reflections of God's love. But Aelred knows that, although they have been created for happiness, humans are neither perfect nor happy. At the same time, however, he is sure that the flood of God's love can overwhelm people who do not reject this divine gift. Because Aelred knows that humans exist only in relationship, he searches out the social order necessary for happiness. So he explores the nature of the church as a community and the support that each social group or calling gives to the whole of existence. This study examines how Aelred sees God informing the cosmos, and the humans who inhabit it, according to the divine order and principle of love. It follows Aelred's analysis of the disordering sources of human unhappiness, which happens when humans reject God's love, and then investigates Aelred's understanding of God's re-ordering of the human condition through the gifts and graces flowing from his greatest gift: his son, Jesus.
John R. Sommerfeldt, Paperback, ISBN 10: 0809143232, ISBN 13: 9780809143238