A Homily delivered on the Feast of St. Albert the Great at the UST Central Seminary
15 November 2013
Last November 10, we celebrated the feast of St. Pope Leo the Great. He is the first pope to be called “Great”. Imagine this great pope persuading the ferocious Attila the Hun in 452 to turn back from his invasion of Italy…and he succeeded. And today, we are celebrating another saint who is called “Great”…St. Albert the Great. He wasn’t a pope but he was considered the most learned man of his time. In fact, he was the teacher of someone whom many considered as the greatest theologian of all time, St. Thomas Aquinas.
A friend from Rome jokingly told me that if you want to be intelligent, study Philosophy; if you want to be holy, study Theology; but, if you want to be both holy and intelligent, study Canon Law because you cannot enroll in Canon Law unless you finish both Philosophy and Theology. Well, his statements are highly debatable…but St. Albert the Great is not just holy, he is not just intelligent…he is dubbed as the “wisest among the saints and the most saintly of the wise.”
And for all that I have said so far, I want to say that TRUE GREATNESS is not always something visible … it can be, but not necessarily. What do I mean? Well, what ultimately matters is not how the world, or even the church, perceives us but how God sees us. Jesus said that those who are great in the eyes of the world are those who are with power, those who make their influence felt…and He told His disciples that the greatest among them must be the servant of all. Then, He literally showed them how by washing their feet at the Last Supper and dying for them and for all of us on the cross. That is true greatness! St. Paul wrote: “ but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.