At the beginning of the Libellus – Blessed Jordan’s account of the beginnings of the Order, we read: “God’s Providence raised up the Order of Preachers as a remedy for the perils of these latter days.”   Other early biographical documents describe the world into which Dominic was born as a “world wrapped in darkness where the light was sinking” – where Dominic “shone like a new star” and as a “light that would illuminate with its beams the whole world”  – a light not just for his own time but has continued to shine, through the members of his Order, down to our own day when the darkness and confusion seem to grow even more intense and widespread. We are all part of that darkness through our own sinfulness, blindness and stubbornness.  Yet as Christians and followers of Dominic we are also called to be light in the midst of the darkness of our time.

We notice that the darkness grows more intense as God seems to be increasingly forgotten and excluded from our society.  The remedy then is for us to become more aware of the all-encompassing Presence of God and to live our lives bathed in the light of that Presence – to radiate that presence to those around us as Dominic did.  Dominic we are told spoke only to God or about God – yet he was a wonderful companion to his brothers and sisters – always radiating compassion, gentleness and kindness.  

In his recent letter to the Order fr Bruno reminded us that “the Divine Office, the sanctification of the hours, is an act of faith for us that, despite our failings, brings us always into the Presence of God.”  And he continues: “By singing the story of the people of God (as we do in the psalms) in the midst of the world we can open a breach in our contemporary history – we sing of the promise of a Presence and a coming that projects the light of a promise of eternity into ordinary situations” – a promise glimpsed in the Book of Revelation where the heavenly “city is lit by the radiant glory of God and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it.”

This morning’s Mass readings (Jer 30; Mt 14) provide us with such examples of God’s gracious Presence in the midst of chaos.  The prophet Jeremiah addresses a people whose ‘wound is incurable and whose injury was past healing’ because of their infidelity to the covenant – yet in the midst of their brokenness God promises that their community will be set in His Presence.  In the Gospel Jesus comes in the midst of the storm – “if it is you” cries Peter “bid me come to you across the water.”  Jesus says “come.”  Peter takes the risk and walks on the water for a while but then sinks as soon as he takes his eyes off Jesus and begins to focus on himself – how familiar we all are with this experience!  Yet as soon as he cries for help Jesus stretches out His hand and holds him.  We open every hour of the Divine Office with a similar cry: ‘O God come to our aid! O Lord make haste to help us!’  Do we believe that Jesus is stretching out His hand to save us and those others for whom we offer our lives and carry in our hearts day by day, hour by hour?   To quote fr Bruno again: “To sing the liturgy hour after hour calls us to be convinced that the world is saved and heard even in the midst of its own noise.”  And he continues: “if we celebrate the liturgy of the Hours day after day and throughout the course of each day, it is so that our time is really, strongly, seized by the Presence and becomes a place to recall the mystery”.  No wonder that Dominic placed so much emphasis on the common celebration of the liturgy.  As nuns of the Order of Preachers the celebration of the liturgy is our primary means of preaching.  As we celebrate this feast of our holy Father Dominic we pray that through the worthy celebration of the daily liturgy we may open a breach to allow the radiant light of God’s presence to shine in the darkness of our world.