Friday, November 15, 2019

Optional Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, bishop and doctor of the Church

(Wisdom 13:1-9; Luke 17:26-37)

The first reading suits today’s patron Saint Albert the Great.  The passage from Wisdom recounts how creation reflects God, its maker.  Because of this, scientists should come to know God. However, it says, some are so distracted by the beauty of creation that they misrepresent God.  Albert was able to come to the right conclusions.  Excelling as a natural scientist and philosopher, he ordered all knowledge.  Besides being called “the Great,” he is also known as the “universal doctor.”

Perhaps Albert’s greatest claim to fame is his pupil Thomas Aquinas.  He recognized Thomas’ enormous intellectual capacity when fellow students named him the “dumb ox.”  Albert also defended Thomas after his death.  Thomas’ works pilloried as heretical, Albert illuminated their profound exposition of divine truth.

Albert the Great has left scientists a challenging legacy.  Following him, they do not have to suspend religious belief to pursue scientific truth.  As he showed, they can come to deeper appreciation for nature by clinging to nature’s God.