St. Albert, 1200-1280. Doctor of Science, Feast Nov.
Albert is a great model for all Christians, especially
scientists. Many scientists like Albert have been blessed with
independence of mind and great mental prowess. In this category,
many rely more on reason and memory than faith. One recent survey
from a national newspaper showed that there is least difference
between the faith of eighty years ago (1917) and today (1998) among
Physicists, Biologists and Mathematicians. Those who believe in God
were around 40 percent and those who did not believe were 45
percent. Doubt and agnosticism resulted in about 15 percent.
A notable difference and exception to the above category is
Freeman Dyson, a world-renowned physicist and author who for more
than 50 years has worked to make science a tool for social justice.
He was recently awarded the 2000 Templeton Prize for Progress in
Religion. He contends that science and religion should be working
together to overcome the injustices of the world. It is people like
Dyson that St Albert the Great could identify with and honor were he
St Albert's life and message can, nevertheless,
still teach and enlighten us, especially the scientists, about how
to live. His message is: do not rely or trust in your memory and
reason more than God. We should practice our belief in God daily. We
should also exercise our spiritual gifts in our chosen profession as
much as our natural gifts and resources. Albert is a model for us to
trust, rely, and depend on God through our faith and profession. It
is a noble call and challenge.
One day our mind will fail
us. Where will we be then? God is urging us now with a willing heart
and a spirit of generosity to exercise all our gifts daily.
Intelligence and faith should work together to develop our belief in
God and goodness toward ourselves and others. The development of
love is vital for spiritual growth. Our memory and reasoning powers
do not necessarily afford us union with God. Faith, however, does
afford union when we use it wisely with our reason. We share and
receive God's love through our heart and mind.
scientist was a tremendous professional and religious of his day. He
thought and mined for truth wherever it could be found or gained. He
sincerely wanted to be wise and learned. It was that salient fact
that made all the difference in the world to him and to Albert's
church. For that precise reason the church honors him. We owe him
our immense gratitude for his amazing contributions. More important,
we have a debt to him for his holiness and godly example.
Albert constantly reminds all people of the importance of faith and
reason and that there is no needed separation between these two.
Both reinforce and sustain each other superbly. In fact, one is
incomplete without the other and both must work together for either
one to function in the best manner.
The Pope has issued a new
encyclical or papal letter on this subject in the fall of 1998. We
need to be alert to the advantages and disadvantages of new
technology. Ethical and spiritual discernment is always needed for
perfection and survival. Unchecked scientific ideas and new
scientific developments need solid moral underpinnings to safeguard
humanity's growth and soundness. Mere utilitarian ends with new
technology can be dangerous. The church's role is always to morally
guide, enlighten and safeguard all creatures from ideas and usage
lacking truth and goodwill. She is the spiritual mother of
humankind. God has always been with the church, albeit, the church
has not always been with God when errors or sins occur. Sincere
catholics never doubt Papal Infallibility when the Pope speaks from
Our Dominican, Albert, was a catholic scientist
first. He found truth everywhere. For him it was everywhere to be
found. This wise, holy priest understood the limits of the mind. When
he was young, he did not rely or depend exclusively on his thinking
abilities for his guidance and behavior in life. Toward his last few
years, when his mental abilities were limited, he found consolation
in his faith. His early formation had encouraged him to live in that
manner. For Albert, truth was too big to define or describe. He
would allow truth to lead him and not the other way around.
Reasonably, Albert is called the 'Universal Doctor.' Everyone who
uses their mind and reasoning power in their profession would be
wise to learn from St Albert before it is too late.
is also the "Patron of Catholic Philosophers and Philosophy." He was a
pioneer in taking a pagan or non-Christian ideas and converting it
to Catholicism. The church did not warm to his attempt to do this.
Albert sought truths assiduously and he was confident he would find
it in the least expected place.
Our saint was an outstanding,
catholic scientist and "Doctor of the Church." He was a scientific
genius with encyclopedic knowledge. However, he used his knowledge
in service to the church. He is the "Patron of scientists." All
scientists, especially Christian scientists, will benefit
tremendously through his intercession.
He used his reason and
thinking diligently. He was a brilliant scholar, student and seeker
for truth. His writings fill some thirty-eight volumes. His
explanations on vast subjects took twenty years to complete. Albert
possessed boundless writing energies and wrote exclusively on
natural science, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, astronomy, ethics,
economics, politics, metaphysics, physics, mineralogy, chemistry,
biology, botany and human/animal physiology.
Renger's book on
the doctors, listed in the sources, tell us that "Albert knew and
wrote about 114 species of birds, 113 quadrupeds, 139 aquatic
animals, 61 serpents and 49 worms. He was the first to mention the
weasel and the artic bear, the first to speak intelligently about
the reproductive functions of birds." Despite his natural talents
and intelligence, Albert used it for others and not for himself. He
never relied on his knowledge more than his faith and belief in
Additionally, he strongly defended the mendicant order
and preached the Crusade in Germany and Bohemia. He served in the
highest office of his religious order, the Dominicans, as provincial
and bishop. Before his entrance into religion, his parents fiercely
opposed his joining. His persistence won their favor but it was not
easy. This is another lesson for parents and especially when God
calls their own children to serve the church.
fame as a doctor resides in realizing the autonomy of philosophy. He
used the philosophy of Aristotle to work for the science of
theology. He rewrote the works of the philosopher to make them
acceptable to Christians. St Albert began to inaugurate the
scholastic system perfected by St Thomas Aquinas. Albert was born
twenty-five years before Thomas. However, just as Thomas was a
student of Albert, after his death Albert became a student of
Thomas. He helped set up many of Thomas' ideas. Albert outlived him
a few years.
Further evidence of Albert's extraordinary
holiness is that three years after his death, his body was in a
state of perfect preservation and his body exhaled delightful
fragrance. Many of the sick who visited Albert's tomb were healed.
These miracles were recorded. Others received visions that were
recorded due to Albert's intercession. He was not the only doctor
gifted with the state of incorruptibility. For more information on
this inscrutable subject that is documented with concrete evidences,
see the sources. Its author, Joan Carroll Cruz, has written a most
definitive, best-seller book on this subject of death and holiness,
based on historical accuracy, live eyewitnesses and thorough
explanation. She has written on death and transformed it into life.
Her book will stun and surprise you. Read and explore The
Incorruptibles . She has written about an eerie subject and turned it
into elation. All her writings on spirituality are profound and
concretely mystical.See link below.
THE DOCTORS AND INCORRUPTIBLES
God uses each of us in mysterious ways.
He does not need our intelligence or works. The Almighty wants our
trust in all matters, especially in difficult circumstances. That is
the lesson Albert inspires us to receive. We should be willing to
accept everything without grumbling or complaint, as we grow weak
and old. Soon we will give back to God everything we received. God
loves a cheerful giver and would urge us to be generous and give
back freely and lovingly. That is where the real test and merit of
life are seen and weighed by God. We must not become too attached to
anything, not even our minds, memory and feelings. Our health will
definitely fail us later.
Many disable individuals are
capable of using their minds but some are not. Our minds, and the
ability to think, are gifts that should remind us to be most
thankful. Thanksgiving Day, which is very near to Albert's feast
day, is a fitting time to express our many thanks to almighty God
especially for those who have religious faith which is, in itself,
another of God's precious gifts that none us has a right to or
deserve. Human beings alone have the ability to reason and it is a
precious gift that millions do not have due to birth, disability or
accident. Our intelligence distinguishes humans from all other
animals and species and makes us superior and a master over them to a large
degree. We know that we know and they may only know.
our scientist Albert lost his mental powers the last two years of
his life, he might serve as an excellent example for mentally
disable people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease. This particular
disability is getting new attention today as never before. A former
president of the United States was seriously affected. Many less
prominent people had been debilitated by this dreaded affliction. No
one is exempt-young or old. Up to four million Americans suffer from
Alzheimer's and nearly three million have mild cognitive impairment
or MCI which, in most cases, is thought to progress to Alzheimer's
disease. This will be a time of incapacitation. God permits the last
traces of one's nature stripped, purified and made holy. It will be
most painful and scary.
During this painful trial period for
Albert, he remained in deep peace the last few years of his life. He
had already learned to surrender his life to God, to live united
with God and love God with his whole heart and mind. He did not have
to remember God. He did not have to think or know about God. All
that knowledge was unimportant to Albert then. He sensed that the
un-name-able is the most beautiful of God's name. Albert did not
have to say the name of God. He belonged exclusively to God. He died
in peace. He died united to God. God took him home where Albert's
mind and heart already dwelt.
Albert did not live in a world
of high tech as we do today. Many scientific events happen daily.
New scientific discoveries occur constantly. We depend and rely on
our current technology to sustain us daily. Imagine how this world
would function without the telephone, fax machine, computer, pager
and the Internet? Where would we be without telecommunication
satellites supplying the signals for our equipment? God bestows it
on all creatures who want to share, unite and live together in
harmony. God gives it for the purpose of unity. However, it is a
gift for those who acknowledge God as the Father of us all and are
For Albert, although he used his profession to
advance science, he did not neglect using his mind and heart with
his faith for a higher usage. He honored God by returning to the
Creator the total use of his abilities. He trusted and relied in
that source above all others-more than his mind, memory and
intellect. St Albert illustrates for us that calling from God, which
the Creator of the Universe wants to bestow on us and far more
importantly than any other does. We must not forget the lesson and
his glowing example. The church has designated him as a most
powerful intercessor. We should remember to supplicate him to
realize our priorities in today's scientific world.
famous scientific doctor referred to the Mother of God as a most
powerful defender of our faith. She defends us, our faith and the
ability to cling to her for spiritual victory. She is God's promise
for us from the very beginning. God protected her for us so that the
promise would be realized. She is our Protectress. That is all the
more reasons why all creatures would be wise as Albert the Great to
petition her frequently. We too can be called 'great' in our own
manner when we petition God in our need. Whether we care to admit
it, we are creatures who have pain, suffering and despite that, much
to be thankful for. We are banished children of Eve. Our new Eve,
Mary, is our sure hope of faithfulness to her Son and our
St Albert assures us that Mary helps those who have
recourse to her. She has a special way with God. Jesus' first
miracle in his public life was because of Mary's intention although
she did not ask her Son for a miracle at Cana. The gospel only
stated that she said they had no wine. Jesus knew what she implied.
That was enough for him even though he said: " What is that to me?
My time has not yet come." But the miracle did come immediately
after her words to him.
Miracles are not magical. There is a
sequence and often a time delay. They are subtle, sure and almost
imperceptible except to the enlightened and believing mind. Holy
people perceive that miracles abound profusely. They are the order
of the day. Everything is a miracle because they are aware of God's
hand and touch in the seen and unseen.
At Cana, Jesus worked
his first public miracle through the obedience of others and the
request of his mother. The gospel tells us that after this miracle
the disciples began to believe in him. This miracle did not appear
that it was a life or death situation. It was only an embarrassing
moment for the bride and groom. However, Mary wanted to keep the
wedding party going. If God can work a miracle to save an
embarrassing moment how much more can he perform a miracle at Mary's
request when the matter pertains to our soul and depends on our
salvation? The Son may more readily grant us favors when we petition
him through Mary. What he did at Cana when the matter was not a
necessity, he may more readily do for us, through Mary, for the
salvation of others.
Albert insisted that it is easy to find
Mary and for that reason we can always be discovering her. But, we
must pray to her constantly. Albert quotes the Book of Wisdom in
reference to Mary: She is easy to find that seek her. Although
science has given us many good gifts, the science of prayer and love
is the best and highest gift we can seek. It is so easy and at our
very fingertips. It is called the science of love.
a tiny aspect of wisdom. The Book of Wisdom informs us that all gold
is as a pinch of sand compared to wisdom. Wisdom is a part of God's
Spirit. To name but a few of her rich attributes: Wisdom is
intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, active, irresistible,
loving and pure. Intelligence heads the list. We need science and
philosophy to become knowledgeable and whole.
In his book,
Belief and Faith, Josef Piper quotes Aristotle, a non-believer: "He
who wishes to learn must believe." His book is a philosophical tract
that defines belief, faith and certainty. He concludes by stating
that the certainty of belief transcends the certainty of knowledge
and insight by an infinite amount. In short, belief is more certain
than any imaginable human insight because belief rest on the divine.
However, before you can believe, you must see and know
This is the message of St Albert and thousands of
other Christian scientists who served God through their scientific
background. One of my favorite writers, a priest and a scientist, is
Teilhard de Chardin, SJ. He explained and elaborated on God in a
marvelous manner through scientific expression. This, however, is
nearly always impossible because God can't be explained. His books
include the Phenomenon of Man and The Divine Milieu. For some
insights in summary from The Divine Milieu and the mystery of
illness, suffering and death, exam the below link on Teilard.
is taken from the sixteenth edition of John Bartlett's Familiar
Quotations on the above two books. "If there were no internal
propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level-indeed
in the molecule itself-it would be physically impossible for love to
appear higher up. From an evolutionary point of view, man has
stopped moving, if he ever did move."
The phenomenon of all
humanity is that God did all the work through an evolutionary
process. After creation, humankind and all created substances, in
all of its infinite forms, has done nothing. From a physical,
scientific or rational perspective all has stopped, if life ever
began at all under its own power. The key words in the above quote
are unite and love. Since humankind has united and love is evident
in the growth of life, it is wise to look at the divine milieu for
anything to make sense or everything to make some sense.
have only to believe. And the more threatening and irreducible
reality appears, the more firmly and desperately must we believe.
Then, little by little, we shall see the universal horror unbend,
and then smile upon us, and then take us in its more than human
Additional Teilhard perspectives: http://www.mnhn.fr/teilhard/indexE.html
Albert the Great and the eminently scientific mind of Jesus reveal
warmth, friendship and intimacy. These new realities-and not only
emotions- shatter the cold, horror, isolated and factual norms of
reason. The evolutionary process is scientific, human and divine.
Love, growth and unity are life's revolutionary process. Jesus'
commandments of love are exactly that: commands. They are expected
from us because we can achieve them and hope to attain them if we
believe wholeheartedly. They are human and divine commands. We must
hope and expect to fulfill God's commandments in the Old Testament
and Jesus' new law of love, which he revealed in the New Testament.
Their attainments are more than good feelings for others. They are
goodwill toward all. Life and love benefit us, individually, and
others. It starts from within us. That is where God dwells. We can
only share what we have.
Ultimately, to believe means to
participate in the knowledge of a Knower. We believe because we
love. This is a radical and profound statement. Jesus mentioned in
his parables that of King Solomon as it relates to wisdom and love.
In fact, the book of Wisdom in the bible is attributed to King
Solomon. In the gospel Jesus said that not even Solomon in all of
his glory (wisdom) compares to the lilies of the field (their
delicate beautiful, odor and full resplendence.) God's creation is
more radiant than any man-made things. It includes the invisible and
visible. Furthermore, faith and belief, which are often secret,
hidden and invisible realities, are primarily special types of
knowledge and lead to supernatural love.
Authentic Love is
really only One. We call it supernatural and natural to
differentiate genuine love from acts that are not God-like. Wisdom
is most God-like and the science of all sciences. It is exciting,
mind riveting and eternal. It cries out aloud in our streets of the
world and is embedded in the fear of God and respect for all life.
Those who search for wisdom with a pure heart will find God and
those who find God will find love and life forever. This is the
science of the doctors, the saints and the friends of God. St
Albert, the ardent, Doctor of Scientists, desired wisdom more than
light. With that wisdom came the inexhaustibility of God's
friendship and knowledge as he had never imagined, known or
This is what it says in
the Canticle, "Shortly after I had passed on from them, I found him
whom my soul loves" (Cant 3:4). "We ought not to be united with the
angels as if they were our object, but we should be united with them
through the lights which come down to us through them, by which we
are raised up to the contemplation of God. We ought to cleave to the
divine lights, that is, the illuminations sent us by God, but not as
if they were our object; we should regard them as the medium in
which our object is seen and as strengthening our intellect, but our
desire does not stop at them, as if they were our highest good"-St
In God's gift to us in prayer we transcend
even the angels in contemplating because that gift and our desire is
above everything. Both from a scientific point of view (the logic
that Albert advocated) and from a supernatural view (beyond logic)
which the Angelic Doctor, Thomas recommends, we will discover and
possess God when we allow God to use our mind and heart.
too, have our part to implore God to direct the usage of our mind
and heart. In short, we first are capable to believe because we
love. It is a gift. Love is the consummate thinking Logic and our
highest good. Praying is sincerely desiring God. It is always
unitive and the habit of praying ascends to more perfect unity each
and every time we are engaged in it. It doesn't matter how we feel
or think when we pray. We do not even have to think or feel. Prayer
is giving from the heart. It isn't always time set apart for God. It
is one's life, one's work, one's breathing. The time set apart for
prayer only intensifies, rejuvenates and immerses us more in the
divine presence as we are employed in mundane occupations or in
When children, women and men use their heart, mind
and soul as Albert, Thomas and the thousands of noble and brave
scientists as Teilhard de Chardin encouraged us to do, they pray
profoundly. St Albert, the scientific doctor, implores us from
heaven to cherish, long for, and aspire daily to reach Christian
perfection using our heart and head. This usage, and unity of mind,
and spirit, unites us with that more perfect unity that we call
The below link gives us a picture of Albert
and a brief summary of interesting facts. More importantly, there are
a host of fascinating interlinks within this link -
an excellent Dominican resource website -
Fascinating site below on Saint Albert and
taken from (http://www.e-benedictine.com/go/index.php?page=31)
Albert the Great
Extensive Bibliography on St Albert:St Albert the Great information and Bibliography
beautiful and powerful information about the Holy Eucharist is taken
from http://www.catholic-form.com which is listed as the first link - Saint
Albert the Great.
"Do this in remembrance of me." Two things should be noted here. The
first is the command that we should use this sacrament, which is
indicated when Jesus says, "Do this." The second is that this
sacrament commemorates the Lord's going to death for our sake. This
sacrament is profitable because it grants remission of sins; it is
most useful because it bestows the fullness of grace on us in this
life. "The Father of spirits instructs us in what is useful for our
sanctification." And his sanctification is in Christ's sacrifice,
that is, when he offers himself in this sacrament to the Father for
our redemption to us for our use. Christ could not have commanded
anything more beneficial, for this sacrament is the fruit of the
tree of life. Anyone who receives this sacrament with the devotion
of sincere faith will never taste death. "It is a tree of life for
those who grasp it, and blessed is he who holds it fast. The man who
feeds on me shall live on account of me." Nor could he have
commanded anything more lovable, for this sacrament produces love
and union. It is characteristic of the greatest love to give itself
as food. "Had not the men of my text exclaimed: Who will feed us
with his flesh to satisfy our hunger? as if to say: I have loved
them and they have loved me so much that I desire to be within them,
and they wish to receive me so that they may become my members.
There is no more intimate or more natural means for them to be
united to me, and I to them. Nor could he have commanded anything
which is more like eternal life. Eternal life flows from this
sacrament because God with all sweetness pours himself out upon the
from a commentary by Saint Albert the Great on the Gospel
The below web site contains comprehensive resources on our church, faith, the bible, saints, writings, apologetics, evangelization, family issues, links, and many pertinent services. This superior and highly organized web site (see Table of Content) is a most fascinating site with beautiful prayers, devotions, and really too much to enumerate. A truly universal catholic site.
The below writing and tribute on St Albert the Great by our present Pope, Benedict XVI, reveals his great contribution to the church, the world, and the men and women of scientific studies and involvements.
Friday, 26 March 2010
On St. Albert the Great
"Scientific Study Is Transformed Then Into a Hymn of Praise"
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today during the general audience in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters,
One of the greatest teachers of Medieval theology is St. Albert the Great. The title "great" (magnus) with which he has passed into history, indicates the vastness and depth of his doctrine, which he coupled with holiness of life. But already his contemporaries did not hesitate to attribute excellent titles to him; one of his disciples, Ulrich of Strasbourg, described him as "wonder and miracle of our age."
Born in Germany at the beginning of the 13th century, he was still young when he went to Italy, to Padua, seat of one of the most famous universities of the Middle Ages. He dedicated himself to the study of the so-called liberal arts: grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music, that is, of the general culture, manifesting that typical interest for the natural sciences, which would soon become the favorite field of his specialization. During his stay in Padua, he frequented the church of the Dominicans, whom he later joined with the profession of religious vows. The hagiographic sources lead one to understand that Albert matured this decision gradually. The intense relationship with God, the example of holiness of the Dominican Friars, the listening of sermons of Blessed Giordano of Saxony, successor of St. Dominic in the leadership of the Order of Preachers, were the decisive factors that helped him to overcome every doubt, overcoming also family resistance. Often, in the years of youth, God speaks to us and indicates the plan of our life. As for Albert, so for all of us, personal prayer nourished by the Word of the Lord, the frequenting of the sacraments and the spiritual guidance of enlightened men are the means to discover and follow the voice of God. He received the religious habit from Blessed Giordano of Saxony.
After his priestly ordination, the superiors sent him to teach in several centers of theological study adjacent to monasteries of the Dominican Fathers. His brilliant intellectual qualities enabled him to perfect the study of theology in the most famous university of the time, that of Paris. From then on St. Albert undertook that extraordinary activity of writer, which he would then follow for his whole life.
He was assigned prestigious tasks. In 1248 he was charged with opening a theological study at Cologne, one of the most important administrative centers of Germany, where he lived in successive stages, and which became his adopted city. From Paris he took with him an exceptional pupil, Thomas Aquinas. The merit would suffice of having been St. Thomas' teacher to foster profound admiration toward St. Albert. Established between these two great theologians was a relationship of mutual esteem and friendship, human attitudes that help much in the development of science. In 1254, Albert was elected Provincial of the "Provincia Teutoniae" -- Teutonic Province -- of the Dominican Fathers, which embraced communities spread over a vast territory in Central and Northern Europe. He distinguished himself for the zeal with which he exercised this ministry, visiting the communities and constantly recalling his fellow brothers to fidelity, to the teachings and examples of St. Dominic.
His gifts did not pass unnoticed and the Pope of that time, Alexander IV, wanted Albert next to him for a certain time in Anagni -- where the Pope frequently went -- in Rome itself and in Viterbo, to make use of his theological counsel. The same Supreme Pontiff appointed him bishop of Regensburg, a great and famous diocese, which was, however, going through a difficult time. From 1260 to 1262 Albert carried out this ministry with tireless dedication, succeeding in taking peace and concord to the city, reorganizing parishes and convents, and giving a new impulse to charitable activities.
In the years 1263-1264 Albert preached in Germany and in Bohemia, charged by Pope Urban IV, to return then to Cologne to take up again his mission of docent, scholar and writer. Being a man of prayer, of learning and of charity, he enjoyed great authoritativeness in his interventions, in several affairs of the Church and of the society of the time. He was above all a man of reconciliation and peace in Cologne, where the archbishop had entered into harsh opposition with the city's institutions; he spent himself during the unfolding of the Second Council of Lyon in 1274, convoked by Pope Gregory X to foster the union between the Latin and Greek Churches, after the separation of the Great Schism of the East of 1054; he clarified the thought of Thomas Aquinas, who was the object of objections and even of wholly unjustified condemnations.
He died in the cell of his monastery of the Holy Cross in Cologne in 1280, and very soon was venerated by his fellow brothers. The Church proposed him to the devotion of the faithful with his beatification in 1622 and his canonization in 1931, when Pope Pius XI proclaimed him Doctor of the Church. It was undoubtedly an appropriate recognition of this great man of God and illustrious scholar not only of the truths of the faith, but of very many other sectors of learning; in fact, glancing at the titles of his very numerous works, we realize that his culture was something prodigious, and that his encyclopedic interest led him to be concerned not only with philosophy and theology, as other contemporaries, but also with every other discipline then known, from physics to chemistry, from astronomy to mineralogy, from botany to zoology. For this reason Pope Pius XII named him patron of cultivators of the natural sciences and he is also called "Doctor universalis" precisely because of the vastness of his interest and learning.
Of course, the scientific methods adopted by St. Albert the Great are not those that were to be affirmed in subsequent centuries. His method consisted simply in observation, description and classification of phenomenons studied, but thus he opened the door for future works.
He still has much to teach us. Above all, St. Albert shows that between faith and science there is no opposition, notwithstanding some episodes of misunderstanding recorded in history. A man of faith and prayer, as St. Albert the Great was, can cultivate serenely the study of the natural sciences and progress in the knowledge of the micro and macro cosmos, discovering the laws proper of matter, because all this concurs to feed the thirst for and love of God. The Bible speaks to us of creation as the first language through which God -- who is supreme intelligence, who is Logos -- reveals to us something of himself. The Book of Wisdom, for example, states that the phenomena of nature, gifted with grandeur and beauty, are as the works of an artist, through which, by analogy, we can know the Author of creation (cf. Wisdom 13:5). With a classic similarity in the Medieval Age and the Renaissance one can compare the natural world with a book written by God, which we read on the basis of several approaches of the sciences (cf. Address to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Oct. 31, 2008). How many scientists, in fact, in the wake of St. Albert the Great, have carried forward their research inspired by wonder and gratitude before a world that, in the eyes of scholars and believers, seemed and seems the good work of a wise and loving Creator! Scientific study is transformed then into a hymn of praise. It was well understood by a great astrophysicist of our times, whose cause of beatification has been introduced, Enrico Medi, who wrote: "Oh, you mysterious galaxies ... I see you, I calculate you, I understand you, I study you and discover you, I penetrate you and I am immersed in you. From you I take the light and I do science, I take the motion and do science, I take the sparkling of colors and make poetry; I take you stars in my hands, and trembling in the unity of my being I raise you beyond yourselves, and in prayer I hand you to the Creator, that only through me you stars can adore" (The Works. Hymn to Creation).
St. Albert the Great reminds us that between science and faith there is friendship, and that the men of science can undertake, through their vocation to the study of nature, a genuine and fascinating journey of sanctity.
His extraordinary openness of mind is revealed also in a cultural operation that he undertook with success, that is, in the acceptance and evaluation of the thought of Aristotle. Spreading at the time of St. Albert, in fact, was knowledge of numerous works of this great Greek philosopher who lived in the fourth century before Christ, above all in the realm of ethics and metaphysics. They demonstrated the force of reason, explained with lucidity and clarity the meaning and structure of reality, of its intelligibility, the value and end of human actions. St. Albert the Great opened the door for the complete reception of the philosophy of Aristotle in Medieval philosophy and theology, a reception elaborated later in a definitive way by St. Thomas. This reception of a philosophy, let us say, pagan and pre-Christian was an authentic cultural revolution for that time. And yet, many Christian thinkers feared Aristotle's philosophy, non-Christian philosophy, above all because, presented by its Arab commentators, it was interpreted in a way of appearing, at least in some points, as altogether irreconcilable with the Christian faith. Thus a dilemma was posed: are faith and reason in opposition to one another or not?
Here is one of the great merits of St. Albert: with scientific rigor he studied the works of Aristotle, convinced that everything that is rational is compatible with the faith revealed in sacred Scriptures. In other words, St. Albert the Great, thus contributed to the formation of an autonomous philosophy, different from theology and united to it only by the unity of the truth. Thus was born in the 13th century a clear distinction between these two learnings, philosophy and theology, which, in dialogue between them, cooperate harmoniously in the discovery of the authentic vocation of man, thirsty for truth and blessedness: and it is above all theology, defined by St. Albert as "affective science," which indicates to man his call to eternal joy, a joy that gushes from full adherence to the truth.
St. Albert the Great was able to communicate these concepts in a simple and comprehensible way. Authentic son of St. Dominic, he preached willingly to the people of God, which were conquered by his word and the example of his life.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray to the Lord so that there will never be lacking in the Holy Church learned, pious and wise theologians like St. Albert the Great and may he help each one of us to make our own the "formula of sanctity" that he followed in his life: "To want everything that I want for the glory of God, to wish and do everything only and always for his glory."