Feast of St. Albert the Great
I often sit in our small third floor chapel with large picture windows that take in the San Gabriel Mountains that rise right behind our retreat center here in Sierra Madre. Jones peak climbs to 3,000 feet just behind us. Coming off its flank Bailey Canyon drops precipitously just to the east of our property. One hikes up the Canyon to a trail that rises steeply in switchbacks to old cabin ruins and then more switchbacks to Jones peak. It has been many years since I hiked to Jones peak and its breathtaking view of the San Gabriel Valley and in the far distance the Pacific Ocean. Now I can only make that walk in my memory.
Our first reading from the Book of Wisdom reminds us that "from the greatness and beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen". As I sit and gaze out the chapel windows I feel the presence of our great and mighty God who ultimately formed these mountains and my heart is stirred. Yet only a few feet away is the tabernacle in which the Artisan who made all that is resides. A mighty God in a small white host! That is an even more overwhelming a mystery. I am so small when I contemplate the universe God has made. Should I not be even smaller in the presence of the God who has loved me, forgiven me, and invites me to live with him forever.
Truly "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament declares his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge. Not a word or a discourse whose voice is not heard. Through all the earth the voice resounds, and to the ends of world, their message."
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.