In search of the fruit of wisdom in the footsteps of Albertus Magnus: Holy Mass for the name day of H.M. Albert II, King of the Belgians | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

In search of the fruit of wisdom in the footsteps of Albertus Magnus: Holy Mass for the name day of H.M. Albert II, King of the Belgians

Jerusalem, Parish Church of St. Saviour, November 13, 2011

The solemn Holy Mass for the name day of His Majesty Albert II, King of the Belgians, which falls on the 15th of this month with the Feast of Albertus Magnus, the Patron Saint of the Belgian dynasty, was celebrated on Sunday, November 13, at the parish Church of St. Saviour. The celebration was presided by Father Stéphane Milovitch, the current guardian of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, who was joined by Father Artemio Vitores, Custodial Vicar, and Father Christian Eeckhout o.p., Dominican Father of the Ecole Biblique et Archéologique Française of Jerusalem as concelebrants. Many other priests took part in the ceremony, especially members of the Franciscan community of the Holy Land. The Consul General of Belgium in Jerusalem, Geert Cockx, was also present.

The Church was filled with many religious belonging to various congregations present in the Holy Land, some members of the local Belgian community, friends and collaborators of the Franciscan Custody and small groups of local Arabic-speaking Christians.

In his homily, delivered in Dutch and in French, Father Christian Eeckhout was inspired by the parable of the talents (Matthew 25,14-30), proposed by the liturgy of the day, to emphasize how Albertus Magnus was able to make the best use of the gifts and qualities he had received from the Lord. After taking the habit of Order of Preachers at a very early age, he became a great teacher in the field of Aristotelian physics and Christian spirituality of the 13th century, was a highly distinguished teacher in Paris, and in the various Dominican houses in Germany, especially in Cologne, which he founded and where Thomas Aquinas was one of his students. He was ordained Bishop of Regensburg, but he gave up the See to devote himself again to study, teaching and preaching, at the same time working to spread peace between peoples and the churches. Proclaimed a Saint and Doctor of the Church and recognized as the Patron Saint of natural scientists, he is proposed by the Church as a “master for all believers who, through in-depth study of science, wish to learn and know and love the Lord, our Creator and Father better.” Albertus Magnus, who used his many talents with plentiful results, continues to be a high model with the capacity to reconcile “human wisdom and divine faith” in all fields of knowledge: diplomatic, scientific, philosophical, political, economic and social. The best wish, especially for the rulers of nations and, in particular, for the King of the Belgians, whose memorial is celebrated today, is therefore to be able to reach that “culture of wisdom” mentioned in the Book of Sirach: “As though ploughing and sowing, draw close to her; then wait for her bountiful crops; [...]You will wear her as a robe of glory, and bear her as a splendid crown.” (Sirach 6,19.31). More than any other material conquest, it will open up to us the doors of intelligence of God, so that we can fully enjoy His presence and His knowledge at the end of our earthly existence.

After the Holy Mass, all the participants greeted the authorities and the members of the Belgian community in the divan of St. Saviour Convent, where refreshments were served.
by Caterina Foppa Pedretti
Photos by Marco Gavasso