Feast of St Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus)
The 1200s were the golden age of Christian thought. We had at one time several of the greatest thinkers that Christianity has produced alive and in contact with each other, either personally or through their writing.
Three men in particular stand out, St Bonaventure, (1221-1274) St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and St Albert the Great (c1200-1280). They are all Doctors of the Church and great philosophers.
Albert, like Thomas, was a Dominican, the order recently formed by St Dominic. Their proper name was the Order of Preachers and the order was set up to combat heresy by the preaching of the true faith.
Albert was also the teacher of St Thomas and the two of them grew into a deep friendship. In fact it is said that when his younger pupil died Albert was never the same again and died himself 6 years later.
Albert was important because he was one of the great men of the Scholastic Age, the time when Catholic theology was first set down in the orderly fashion that we still recognise today. He also had much original thinking in the field of metaphysics and the nature of being.
The output of Albert was enormous and it is said that he had eight secretaries writing for him at a time. Legend has it that as he walked from place to place, secretaries with writing desks hung around their necks, walked with him as he recorded plants and nature and astronomy.
The last complete set of his works were oriented in France in 1898 and ran to 53 volumes.
Secularists tend to think of this time, the 1200s, as a time of barbarism and poverty of thought. The reason for this is that they cannot understand men such as Albert and his friends.