Pope Francis has announced that the coming year-2016 will be a year dedicated to the Mercy of God for the whole Church, and by a happy coincidance our Order is celebrating the 800th Jubilee of its foundation.

 Reading through the Libellus and other documents of these early days I find that one of the most frequently mentioned characteristics of St. Dominic is his compassion, again and again we read of his long night vigils as he struggles with God to have Mercy on all His children, especially his most wayward ones.   Mercy Mercy, he cried, Lord have mercy on your children. What will become of sinners ?

Dominic could resonate with the beautiful lines from the poet on mercy and this was surely his way of thinking and his way of seeing life.

               “The quality of mercy is not strained—-
it droppeth like the gentle dew from heaven
Upon the place beneath:  it is twice blest;——-
it blesseth him that gives and him that takes”

                                                                                                                        Shakespeare

St Lukes’ Gospel on the Proddigal Son would have been especially dear to Dominic. It is said that he pondered with Mary the Word of God and St Paul’s letters that he always carried with him, knowing them almost by heart.    We can see him pleading with and sharing the full depth of this story with the man in the inn as they talked and argued all night  long, and also with the sinners who were drawn to him, as they sensed that here was a man who would listen to their story and understand their problems, and sinfullness.—I will arise and go to mt Father—I have sinned and gone astray.  He would encourage these poor  children even the heretics, telling them of God’s boundless love and mercy for them, and the welcome they would find in Jesus just as the prodigal son experienced it.

He would remind them too of the last Supper, the moment when John rested his head on the breast of Jesus in complete trust, sure of Jesus’ love for him and his acceptance of this “son of thunder.”   

 Where did St. Dominic our Father find the strength to sustain those long nights of intercession  and days of walking, teaching and arguing while at the same time bringing to birth his young Order of Friars Preachers?  He would tell them of God’s constaint pursuit of them  each one individually and personally.

                        “All which I took from thee I did but take,—–not for thy harm’s sake

                 but just that thou migh’st seek it in my arms.—-all which thy child’s mistake

Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home;   Rise clasp my hand an come.
                                                                                                                              the hound of heaven

 It was Our Lady, Queen of Heaven herself who walked with Dominic along the dusty roads and came with him into the inns, wherever a wayward son and daughter could be found.

 Maybe his prayer went like this – universal and personal as always

          Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners,   Hail holy Queen  mother of Mercy,—-turn then most gracious advocate thine eyes of mercy towards us/

 Our Father Dominic has not changed and he accompanies his children as they travel along the dusty roads of life sometimes getting muddied and messed up, but always with our Father and Mary our Mother – sure that after this our exile he will be there waiting to show us the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb—Jesus         Dominic we thank you.