I continue to dream. They do not fade like the dreams of sleep – rather, they linger like the dreams of a higher kingdom. I no longer confide in my brothers, for they report all aberrations to the Cardinal. I do not blame them. They are concerned for my well being. But they do not understand – they cannot understand – that God is granting me these dreams for a purpose beyond conventional understanding.
I find my thoughts going back to “boots the bishop” – Albertus of Cologne. A Bavarian and a practitioner of the sciences, his ideas weren’t any more foreign to the fathers of the church than mine. He had visions, as I do – the Virgin Mary came to him and convinced him to join our Order.
But where I shy and hide my visions and my desire to expand my mind for fear of persecution, Albertus embraced them and proclaimed them for all of Europe to see. He defended our Order against attacks from those who wish to remain closed to the Glory of the Kingdom of God as observed through the natural sciences. He studied all aspects of nature, science and mathematics and beyond.
Where did he find this courage? This strength? Did he ever doubt the vision that put him on the path? When people criticized and attacked the work of the Dominicans, did his conviction ever waver?
He not only studied these disciplines through the works of others, he researched on his own. Experimenting with chemicals and reagents, he expanded upon the labor of others by carefully working within the scientific method. He discovered the philosopher’s stone and witnessed the creation of gold by transmutation.
With his vast scientific knowledge, what did he do? He preached for peace. For understanding. He dreamt of a world where science and religion could co-exist, peacefully, so that all might understand the glory of the work of God as they see fit.
And he did not find himself censured by a cardinal. He did not find himself dreading to sleep for the dreams he might have. He did not question his own sanity and reason.
Contemplare et Contemplata Aliis Tradere. Our motto. Albertus’ life put into words. Is it my curse? To be taught lessons I can’t fathom by beings that subsequently enthrall and terrify me?
I hope for a dreamless sleep. But I dream of a world larger than conventional understanding.
Padre Gasparo Barbarigo
2 Marzo, 1418