St Dominic, The Transfiguration, & Truth

On this feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord: a feast in which we celebrate the Light that Jesus is;  the Light He radiates on all who believe Him; the Light that He wants to shine on all humanity, even on those who do not yet know Him – it seems appropriate to consider St Dominic and one of the mottoes of the Order – possibly a lesser known one – that is Veritas, or Truth.
The importance of such a motto in the early days of the foundation of the Order of Preachers is unquestionable.  Heresies which denied the goodness of the physical world and the intrinsic goodness and worth of the human person were increasingly popular, and are popular even now.  St Dominic – in seeking to combat these, together with his brethren and the support of the prayers of the nuns whom he had associated with their mission – was seeking to re-present the truth which Christ Himself had taught so long ago; the truth He had entrusted to the Church for all time.  It could be observed that in fact what St Dominic founded the Order for, was ‘nothing new.’  Yet, he must have had an extra-ordinary, single-minded faith and trust in God, to be able to establish his Order at the time he did; and to disperse the brethren in order to preach the Gospel, so soon after having gathered them together.
Today, when we celebrate the mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, it is possible to see why St Dominic was so attracted to Jesus.  Dominic, like us, was a pilgrim throughout his life; constantly and tirelessly intent on living according to the truth, and he found it in Jesus, who Himself confessed that He is the Truth … and the Way … and the Life.  Our own searching: our journey towards discovering the meaning and value of our lives and our purpose in life, can only be realised if it is a search for truth: a truth that is unchanging and is not diluted by momentary fashions and opinions.
The feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration is a feast of Light and Life and the wonder that the truth we long for is not an unattainable dream or ideology – but is in fact a person – a Person who is both God and Man: a Person who is Love.  It seems, then, that St Dominic’s vision for the order he established is one that is as timeless, as eternal one might say, as the Person on Whom he constantly fixed his gaze; and with Whom he ceaselessly conversed. 
The Light and the Life: the Love and the Truth that Jesus is, is not mysterious, such that we cannot know it – but it is something which He wants to reveal to all the world, as He revealed Himself to Peter and James and John on the holy mountain.  St Dominic was on fire with the desire to share what he had come to know; and he sets the example for us who follow in his footsteps, to have that same passion for the truth, for the Lord, so that all may know the salvation which was won for us upon the Cross. 
Pope Benedict once observed that: “In ancient times the really terrible thing about prisons was that they cut people off from the light of day and plunged them into darkness.  So, at a deeper level, the real alienation, unfreedom, and imprisonment of man consists in his want of truth.  If he does not know truth, if he does not know who he is, why he is there, and what the reality of this world consists in, he is only stumbling around in the dark.”  Today’s feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord is truly a Dominican feast – it is a celebration of the Light that has been revealed in the world as the Truth, and the Truth is Christ.  So we are set a tremendous challenge – by the Lord and by St Dominic – ever to strive to be heralds and lights of that Truth.  To quote again Pope Benedict:  “The church’s real contribution to liberation, which she can never postpone and which is most urgent today, is to proclaim truth in the world, to affirm that God is, that God knows us, and that God is as Jesus Christ has revealed Him, and that, in Jesus Christ, He has given us the path of life.”

May St Dominic continue to intercede for us that we may be faithful to the wondrous gift we have received, and that we may not keep it to ourselves but proclaim the Truth in all that we do and say and pray.