Saint Albert of Trapani

Date: 
August 7, 2015
August 7, 2016
August 7, 2017
August 7, 2018
August 7, 2019
OCD commemoration: 
Memorial
Classification: 
Priest

Albert degli Abbati was born in Trapani in Sicily in the thirteenth century. Having joined the Carmelites and been ordained a priest, he soon became famous for his preaching and miracles. He was provincial in Sicily in 1296, and died in Messina, probably in 1307, with a reputation for purity and prayer.

From the Book of the Institution of the First Monks

(L. 1, c. 2: ed. AnOC 3 [1914-1916], pp. 348-49).

"Hide yourself by the brook Cherith. The word of the Lord came to Elijah saying: Depart from here and go eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith near the Jordan, and there you will drink from the brook. Now these salutary commands which the Holy Spirit prompted Elijah to obey, and this promise of good things which he was moved to desire, ought to be weighed word by word with the greatest careby us, monks and solitaries, and this in a mystical sense, for they contain the full meaning of our vocation. Indeed they point theway to prophetic perfection, which is the goal of our religious,eremitical life.

It will be seen that this type of life has two aims. One of them we can, with the help of God’s grace, achieve by our own efforts and the practice of virtue. This aim is to offer God a heart holy and pure from all actual stain of sin, and we achieve it when we become perfect and hidden in Cherith—that is, in charity, of which the Wise Man says: Charity covers all offenses. It was tobring Elijah to this state that God said to him: Hide yourself by the brook Cherith.

The other aim of this kind of life is something that can be bestowed on us only by God’s generosity: namely, to taste in ou rhearts and experience in our minds, not only after death but even during this mortal life, something of the power of the divine presence and the bliss of heavenly glory. And this is to drink from the brook of the enjoyment of God—the reward God promised Elijah when he said: There you will drink from the brook.

The prophetic, eremitical life must be undertaken by the monk with both these aims in view, as the Psalmist makes clea rwhen he says to God: In a desert land where there is no road and no water I have come before you in the sanctuary to see you rpower and your glory. By choosing to live in a desert land where there is no road and no water as the means of coming before God in the sanctuary—with a heart, that is, free from sin—he demonstrates the first aim of the solitary life he has chosen, which is to offer God a heart that is holy, or pure from all actual sin. By adding the words to see your power and your glory he declares the second aim, which is in some measure to experience or see the power of the divine presence mystically in one’s heart and to taste the bliss of heavenly glory here already in this life.

The first aim, purity of heart, can be achieved with the help of God’s grace by effort and the practice of virtue. The second aim, experimental knowledge of divine power and heavenly glory, can be realized through purity of heart and perfect love; for our Lord said: Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him."

Carmelite Prayer: 
Lord God, you made Saint Albert of Trapani a model of purity and prayer, and a devoted servant of Our Lady. May we practice these same virtues and so be worthy always to share the banquet of your grace. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.