Power and Virtue

St. Albert the Great

Wisdom 6:1-11; Luke 17:11-19

Today we remember St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.  He was an extraordinary scholar and was able to see the hand of God in the sciences.  He was also the mentor of another great Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas. 

Our readings for today’s Mass ask us to reflect on the virtues of responsibility, humility and gratitude.  These days the scandals of many men in positions of power, from Hollywood moguls and celebrities to public officials in Washington, DC and elsewhere, remind us of what can happen when we forget or fail to cultivate those virtues.  God’s warning to earthly rulers in our first reading applies equally to any of us who are in positions of power and authority:  Use well what you have been given.  It is a sacred trust.

Though he and Jesus were separated by historical and religious difference, on the Samaritan leper came back and prostrated himself before the Lord in gratitude for the healing that he received.  He didn’t take it for granted.

For the past week and a half, I’ve been participating in an Intensive Pastoral Spanish course at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas.  Learning a new language isn’t easy, especially at age 55!  It’s been a humbling experience but also a good reminder that words have power and the need to choose and use my words well and, like St. Albert the Great, to use whatever intellectual gifts I have to serve others and glorify God.—JC