"This is the Feast Day of the Lord's True Witness..."
I have tried three times to write this post but my rampaging headache/cold induced by my sister's cats' evil dander I have largely failed. However, since I don't want this day to pass without saying something, it will have to be peerlessly mediocre. Chesterton once said, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." We'll see if I can live up to that.
Today is the feast of Saint Dominic. Dominic is one of the saints for whom I feel a great deal of affection and closeness. Dominic and the order he founded arises in a time of great struggle and dis-ease for the Church. You might think of it as the time when the flower was about to fall off the glories of the Middle Ages. The insidious creep and inevitable decline that bears upon any golden age was beginning to be seen, especially in the form of heresies running rampant in the Church.
For Dominic, I don't think that he intended to become the great evangelizer of Europe which he became. He simply put himself at the Lord's disposal and the rest unfolded from there. Dominic's life was tinged with sadness and hardship, growing up in Spain during a time of famine. As a canon regular of Osma, I suspect, he would have been particularly happy to live out his days amongst the brothers in the regularity of the rule. God had further plans.
To confront the heresy of the Albigensians, Diego, the Bishop of Osma, recruited Dominic to go and preach to the heretics in a hope to win them back. The initial sortie was not successful; it however laid the seed for the future endeavor. I could go on and on about Dominic, but I won't. If you want to see more or read more, go to Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent.org and read up there.
For me, Dominic is a fascinating fusion. On the one hand, he is very traditional in the sense that he wasn't one to innovate on theology. He wanted to make theology "popular" that is accessible to any person within the Church. On the other hand, he was consistently interested in finding a new way to preach the Gospel. I find a constant source of refreshment when I think on the example Dominic gives the Church. We need to remember that Truth is the source of life and Truth is not a something; at the heart, Truth is a someone: Jesus Christ. To study, to bless, to pray, and to share the fruits of your contemplation leads us into the depths of Christ's loving embrace.
In conclusion, I would like to share a traditional antiphon in honor of Saint Dominic:
"O Light of the Church,
O Teacher of Truth,
Rose of Patience,
Ivory of Chastity,
Freely dispensing waters of wisdom,
O Preacher of Grace, unite us with the blessed."