Aelred entered the newly founded abbey of Rievaulx in 1133, after serving at the Scottish royal court. As novice master and abbot, this 'Bernard of the North' composed works of history and theology, and among the great medieval spiritual writers remains even today ' easiest and plainest guide to the practical question of how to begin to pray'.
The three treatises translated in this volume seem to date from his years as abbot of Rievaulx (1146 until his death in 1166).
In Jesus at the Age of Twelve, he reflects on the historical, allegorical, and moral meaning of gospel passage recounting the visit of the boy Jesus to the Temple at Jerusalem.
In Rule of Life for a Recluse, the advises his sister on organizing her time and disciplining herself. Of it, Aelred Quire write: '..there is no work in which the true complexity of Aelred's ascetic inheritance can be better appreciated.'
The intensely personal Pastoral Prayer 'comes nearest to being the embodiment of what his personal ideal finally came to be. It defies adequate analysis.'