2 Maccabees 6:18-31
"When I lie down in sleep, I awake again, for the Lord sustains me."
As we come here to this Mass today we hear these encouraging words from the psalmist, speaking to us of the love that Our Lord has for us and the fact that He is constantly thinking of us and holding us in existence. The closeness of God at every moment is something incredible to contemplate.
The account from Second Maccabees of the elder Eleazer is so beautiful in itself that we could spend hours contemplating it. Before Christian martyrs witnessed to us, we have this witness of the faith of Eleazar, who offered his life to God rather than even appear to defile himself before others. As he went to his death, he did so not only with great suffering but also great joy in his soul. Certainly the Lord was with him, sustaining him in the midst of those trials.
Most of us, though, are not so boldly called to rely upon the sustenance of the Lord. More often than not, in my own life and experience, it comes in simply relying upon Him in the midst of the hectic lives that we lead. Turning to Him in the course of the day and reminding ourselves that it is only by His grace that we are able to accomplish the things that we do. We can be mindful of this by the example of St. Albert the Great, whose feast we celebrate today. In the twelfth century, St. Albert was revered as a "teacher of everything there is to know" - one who was well-versed and even a leader in chemistry, natural sciences, philosophy, theology, architecture, and general daily wisdom. He shaped the mind of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose theology stands as the norm for teaching 800 years later. He was consulted by business men, builders, religious seekers, and the pope on all various accounts. And yet in the midst of all of those various ventures he still found himself able to effectively minister as a bishop and leader of the Dominican community. Those who look at his life cannot but be shocked at the amount of work he accomplished in his life and often at the same time and truly this is all attributed to the work of God, who continually sustained St. Albert all throughout those works and made them bear the fruit they did because he truly dwelled in the Lord.
From his example we can find our own encouragement, that in the midst of our busy days caught up in so many things - though not so glorious as his - we can still find Our Lord and remind ourselves that it is He who sustains us.