Optional Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, bishop and doctor of the Church
(Wisdom 6:1-11; Luke 17:11-19)
St. Albert has been justifiably called “the great” for his many accomplishments. He excelled as a scientist, a philosopher, and a theologian. He also won the respect of both peers and superiors. He was elected provincial of his German Dominican province spending much time defending the mendicant orders from their detractors. He was also made a bishop with the task of reforming his diocese.
Albert could hardly have been a proud man. Despite his achievements and high positions he spent the last years of his life defending his student, St. Thomas Aquinas. The latter, whose name today is synonymous with Catholic orthodoxy, was accused of heresy for writing favorable things about pagan philosophers. As one who searched for truth, Albert did not allow the misjudgment to prevail. In the quest for righteousness Albert heeded the advice of today’s first reading. The Book of Wisdom teaches that great people must not exalt their own power. Rather, they need to both study and follow the ways of the Lord.
Our minds do not likely measure up to Albert’s intellect. Nor is it probable that we have his organizational capacity. But we can emulate his holiness. We can be humble before others. We can study and perhaps defend the truths which the Church teaches. Most of all, we can love God by seeking to do His will above everything else.