Nov 15 – Memorial for St. Albert the Great, bishop, religious, doctor
St. Albertus (1206-1280) was the son of a military nobleman. A Dominican priest, he taught theology at Colgone and Paris and was the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was an influential teacher, preacher, and administrator, and became the Bishop of Regensburg. He introduced Greek and Arabic science and philosophy to medieval Europe.
He was one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages, coming at the beginning of the great flowering that came with the rediscovery of the works of Aristotle. He had a great interest in science and astronomy and his learning gave him the title, as a Doctor of the Church, of Doctor Universalis, the “Universal Doctor.”
In 1260, the Pope made him Bishop of Regensburg. Although he was a bishop, Albertus refused to ride a horse and went everywhere on foot. This seemingly unusual practice was consistent with the rules of his order. The life of a bishop did not agree with him and he resigned from his post in 1263. In his later years, Albertus became renowned as a mediator. He mediated disputes between individuals as well as resolving a dispute between the people of Colonge and their bishop. He also founded Germany’s oldest university in that city. During his life, Albertus wrote thirty eight volumes covering topics ranging from philosophy to geography, astronomy, law, friendship and love. He died in Cologne in 1280.
He is known for his wide interest in what became later known as the natural sciences – botany, biology, etc. He wrote and illustrated guides to his observations, and was considered on par with Aristotle as an authority on these matters. He was a theological writer, and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.
“It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man, and man to God. But where charity is not found, God cannot dwell. If, then, we possess charity, we possess God, for “God is Charity” (1 John 4:8)” – St. Albert the Great
- Patron Saint Index
1 Mac 1:10-15,41-43,54-57,62-63
And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God...
Today’s gospel revolves around the blind man sitting by the roadside begging. Besides his visual impairment, he also lived in poverty and perhaps had no one to take care of him, hence the need to be a beggar in order to survive. When presented with the offer from Jesus, he pleaded for the Lord to heal him. I guess most of us would choose that option as well, to be healed of a physical disability rather than asking for money, or for a community where he could rely on and take care of him. However, that choice only seems logical on hindsight, provided we recognize who Jesus really is and really believe that he has the power to heal. Imagine the same situation in this modern day and age — it would be unlikely for someone to ask of that. It would be more practical for the beggar to ask for donations, or crowdfund for his medical expenses so that he could go for an eye surgery — something which might give him a higher chance of success as compared to asking for a miraculous healing. Alternatively, the beggar might even ask to be taken into a care home so that he can be adequately fed, well taken care of, with a roof over his head.
In all the four gospels, we read that Jesus healed all who were sick or were oppressed by the devil. However, most of us tend to categorise those healings as historical events which occurred over two thousand years ago, events captured in the bible which perhaps were no longer relevant. Nonetheless, Jesus commanded all those who believe in Him, as mentioned in Mark 16:15-20, to:
“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers; in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.”
This is the final commissioning from Jesus right before he was taken up to heaven, and does indicate that healing still exists even today. Honestly, I was rather sceptical in this area until my Conversion Experience Retreat (CER) in 2014. Although I didn’t encounter any miraculous or dramatic experiences personally, witnessing the numerous healings and testimonies amongst the retreatants reinforced my beliefs, particularly of an elderly lady whom I met on the first day walking with a limp and aided by a walking stick. Even before the final day of the retreat, she had already ditched the cane and could walk normally! Such occurrences are simply unexplainable in scientific terms, and that applies to many aspects of creation as well. The way God creates and upholds the universe down to every single atom and cell is unfathomable. Much physical healing today occurs through the practice of medicine, but that does not mean God is uninvolved. Whether by prayer or by medicine, we are participating with God in the miracle of His grace for healing. God has ordered His universe for our benefit in such a way that human beings may know and affect the secret workings of the body. Treatment works because God made it work. Refusing medicine is as faithless as refusing prayer.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Dylan Tan)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being the resurrection and the life, where death holds no power over you. Your words endure forever and you hear the cries of all those who call upon your name. Please increase our faith that we may call on your unfailing love for the healing and recovery that we need. In your most precious name, Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for loving and protecting us from ill health and sicknesses, giving us strength and hope, even when the prognosis is bad. Let us never lose our faith and thank you for giving us the grace to exhibit character even as we wait upon you.