Lent Madness: Aelred vs. John the Baptist

The Round of the Saintly Sixteen begins with a smackdown of saintly contrasts: Aelred (who advanced against Anskar)vs. John the Baptist (who defeated Martin of Tours). Clean shaven vs. wild beard matted with locusts and wild honey. English monk vs. Biblical ascetic.

Click for the full tournament bracket: Lent Madness 2010

In his writing on Spiritual Friendship, Aelred writes, “Friendship is agreement on all things sacred and profane, accompanied by goodwill and love.” In welcoming Pharisees who have come to see what was happening by the River Jordan, John the Baptist yells, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come!” So it’s safe to say that these two saints take different approaches to their work and ministry.

Aelred (1109-1166) was the Abbot of a community of 300 monks in Rievaulx, England. John baptized Jesus. Aelred is the patron saint of Integrity, USA. John is the patron saint of the Freemasons. Aelred was known as the “English St. Bernard.” John was known as the Forerunner. Aelred died a natural death. John had his head cut off and delivered on a silver platter.

You now get to choose who will increase and who will decrease in Lent Madness. Cast your vote!


2 Comments on “Lent Madness: Aelred vs. John the Baptist”

  1. Susan Walsh says:

    John– for all his virtues– reminds me too much of the modern evangelists who get their message across with an unhealthy dose of fear.

  2. Will Mebane says:

    John spoke directly to hypocrisy, knew his short-comings and that he was not worthy to even untie the thong of Jesus..


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