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The Advent of Hagia Sophia
“Into this happy night
In secret, seen of none,
Nor saw I aught,
Without other light or guide,
Save that which in my heart did burn..”
San Juan de la Cruz (John of the Cross)
“She it was I loved and have searched for from my youth;
I resolved to have her as my bride,
I fell in love with her beauty.
Her closeness to God lends lustre to her noble birth,
since the Lord of All has loved her.
Yes she is an initiate in the mysteries of God’s knowledge,
making choice of the works He is to do.
If in this life wealth be a desirable possession,
what is more wealthy than Wisdom whose work is everywhere ?
...I am your servant, child of your serving maid,
a feeble man with little time to live...
Despatch Her from the holy heavens, send
Her forth from your throne of glory to help me
and toil with me and teach me what is
pleasing to you, since
She knows and understands everything.
She will guide me prudently in my undertakings
and protect me by Her glory.
That all I do will be acceptable...
As for your intention, who could have learned it, had you
not granted Wisdom and sent your
Holy Spirit from above ? Thus have the paths of those
on earth been straitened and people have been taught
what pleases you, and saved,
From The Book of Wisdom, chapters 8,9 (Jerusalem Bible)
“I recommend to you the virtues of courage, which defends science
in a world marked by doubt, alienated from truth, and in need of meaning;
and humility, through which we recognize the finiteness of reason before
Truth which transcends it. These are the virtues of Albert the great.”
St John Paul II
“One of the myriad natural subjects to interest St Albert was that of individual differences. What makes each one of us unique?”
From St Albert the Great by Kevin Vost
The feast of St Albert the Great, a Doctor of the Church, November 15, marks 40 days until Christmas. We always get 40 days of Lent before Easter, but it seems never enough time to really prepare spiritually for Jesus’ birth. So for years, I have begun this preparation on St Albert’s day. Because he was a scientist, dedicated to Biblical Wisdom, he is a very important intercessor this year, when the world has been asked by the scientific community to listen and follow their advice about protection against Covid 19.
“St Albert from his heavenly eminence, can appreciate exactly the task of scientific research. He did a great deal of it himself, not only in one subject, but in the whole field of science, which today is divided into so many specialties. St Albert’s specialty was no less than ‘everything created.’ He wrote on botany, mineralogy, astronomy, physics, chemistry, anthropology, cosmography, and other subjects. No single science escaped his attention... On December 16, 1941, Pope Pius XII designated St Albert the Great as patron of all who engage in scientific studies. As such, he is the special Saint for researchers, technologists, and all who engage professionally in any of the sciences, as well as those who study science.”
From “The 35 Doctors of the Church” by Christopher Rengers, OFM, Cap.
To quote Mr Vost again on St Albert, “What makes each of us unique ?”
One of the things is our relationship with God. Because each of us is unique, God treats us in an absolutely unique way. And God comes to each of us in such a loving and beautifully touching way, as well. How will you spiritually prepare for Advent and Christmas this year ? There are nearly infinite ways and you get to imagine and find your own unique way. Maybe read the above mentioned book on St Albert the Great ? Or pray a Rosary every day, in the car for all the Holy Souls passing into God stricken by this pandemic. Or maybe pray in your own way, especially for all the doctors, nurses, and those on the frontlines who are beyond exhausted as we face a massive surge of infections. Or find ways to physically help some one who is carrying a heavy burden.
I have heard so many people say that during this time of quarantine they have become aware of past cruelties they have endured or caused. We can write them down and go to Confession, ( I have always loved Confession, but I know it’s not that way for everyone...find an understanding Confessor if possible ) or find another way to stop carrying these heavy burdens in this time when we are overwhelmed by so much already. As Our Lord said “Come to me, all you who are weary and overburdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
The Holy Spirit who never goes backwards, and is capable of inspiring infinite possibilities will, I promise you, guide you in your imaginative, creative or simple choice of how to live this Advent of 2020. Every year calls for a new way to return God’s love. I remember so fondly, the organization founded during the AIDS pandemic in New York City, who delivered food to those who could not get out, they are still at work and call themselves: “God’s Love - We Deliver !”
Finally a quote from our New Advent Heavenly Friend and Pope Pius XII :
“You should make your heart like your neighbor’s heart, so that when he is happy you are happy, and you grieve with him when he is grieving.”
St Albert the Great
“May St Albert, who in his own very difficult times proved by his wonderful work that science and faith can flourish harmoniously in people, through his powerful intercession with God, arouse the hearts and minds of those who devote themselves to the sciences, to a peaceful and orderly use of the natural forces, the laws of which, divinely established, they investigate and seek after.”
Pope Pius XII
Dearest Friend St Albert,
how much we love you and seek after your holy wisdom and infinite curiosity about our blessed world, St Francis called, Mother Earth. Help us lay down our heavy burdens so that we can live through our own “very difficult time” of this pandemic. And, dear friend, also continue to inspire us with new hope, new joy and most of all, new love for God and one another.
Fr Bill McNichols 💮 November 2020