Real Science

In honor of the 733rd anniversary of the death of the great scientist, Bishop Albert, let’s recall paragraph 34 of Holy Father’s encyclical on our faith in divine love:

The light of love proper to faith can illumine the questions of our own time… One who believes may not be presumptuous; on the contrary, truth leads to humility, since believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth which embraces and possesses us. Far from making us inflexible, the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all.

…The light of faith is an incarnate light radiating from the luminous life of Jesus. It illumines the material world, trusts its inherent order and knows that it calls us to an ever widening path of harmony and understanding. The gaze of science thus benefits from faith: faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible richness. Faith awakens the critical sense by preventing research from being satisfied with its own formulae and helps it to realize that nature is always greater. By stimulating wonder before the profound mystery of creation, faith broadens the horizons of reason to shed greater light on the world which discloses itself to scientific investigation.

One thought to take from this paragraph: When we believe in God, we recognize that the material world is something He made according to His infinitely intelligent plan. We, too, possess intelligence. So we can harmonize ourselves with the intelligent order of the material world.

Albert the Great Septicentennial StampThis is what science really is: Not controlling the world, but harmonizing ourselves with it, in a reasonable way. This is what medicine really is: Not controlling our bodies, but harmonizing our minds with them, in a reasonable way. We can read in nature and in our own bodies the plan of the higher intelligence that made all of it, provided we are humble enough to admit that we need to learn in this way.

As St. Albert knew and taught, true science flows from this first step: Our humble acknowledgement that our intelligence is not the highest. Science = seeking to learn something about the much-higher intelligence with which the Creator ordered His creation.

2 thoughts on “Real Science

  1. Father Mark,

    I never realized before 2006 how many St. Alberts there were. I was looking it up for my first grandchild (Jeffrey Albert), who was going to dress as his Saint for a school pageant. He settled on St. Albert of Jerusalem, who, as it turns out, and as I found out then, never made it to Jerusalem — .

    This is not to be confused with Paul McCartney’s “Uncle Albert,” not to be confused with Admiral William “Bull” Halsey — but that’s another story.

    The thing that really gets me about St. Albert the Great is how dead on his thinking is seven-centuries-plus on. Think not, ask Francis Collins [ The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, by Francis S. Collins ]. And, we THINK we’re so darned smart. Cogito ergo sum: Rene thought he was so smart; but he was opening up Pandora’s Box for generations yet to come. Bishop Albert had it right.

    In God we trust.



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