November 15, 2010

St. Albert's Collects

The Collect for St. Albert the Great is one of my favorites. I preached on it at Mass this morning.

As it comes to us in our current English translation:

God our Father,
you endowed Saint Albert with the talent
of combining (componenda) human wisdom with divine faith.
Keep us true to his teachings
that the advance of human knowledge
may deepen our knowledge and love of you.
Grant this through...

This is something of a shift from the same prayer as it was prior to the reform of the liturgy. As it appears in the 1962 Missale Romanum:

Deus, qui beatum Albertum, pontificem tuum atque Doctorem,in humana sapientia divinae fidei subiicienda magnum efficisti: da nobis, quaesumus; ita eius magisterii inhaerere vestigiis, ut luce perfecta fruamur in caelis. Per Dominum...

God, who made St. Albert, your bishop and doctor, great in subjecting human wisdom to divine faith, grant us, we ask, that by holding fast to to the teaching he has left, we might enjoy perfect light in heaven. Through our Lord...

So, good old St. Albert, who used to subject human wisdom to divine faith, now only combines the two. Thus is revealed the uneasy relationship between the sciences and the Science for people of our time. So often I hear something like, 'There is no conflict between faith and reason, between theology and the natural sciences, because they ask different questions.'

No. It's true that they ask different sorts of questions, but this approach is finally inadequate because it suggests that there are different fields of knowledge, whereas there are only really different aspects of the one Truth to be known. It's true that there is no conflict between theology and the other sciences, but it is rather because all human questions and every inquiry of the human mind have God as an ultimate end. (Or, as we late moderns would say, 'horizon.') God, after, all, is the originary Principle from which everything is, as well as the Principle of and Ground of all knowing.

1 comment:

Greg said...

You may enjoy the FB Page "Magis Center of Reason and Faith" hosted by Fr. Spitzer. Good discussions and links re science and faith.