Continuing our reflections in honour of our Holy Father St. Dominic, I will read an excerpt from the book: Saint Dominic – The Grace of the Word, By Guy Beduelle OP.
Dominic’s name does not appear in the first Constitutions, but they are stamped with his spirit and his plan. He allowed himself to be directed by events with that charismatic grace of saints, who shape their work in harmony with Providence. Instances of this abound: there was his acceptance or choice of the Rule of St. Augustine, the dispersion of the brethren in 1217, and the almost precipitate assignment of friars to Poland. In these decisions Dominic evidenced his judgment in matters arising from encounters and circumstances. Humbling himself before momentary events, he yet used them to full advantage.
There is something more: we know his sanctity only through other people. It was the anonymous, insistent and popular devotion at his tomb in Bologna that brought him recognition in spite of the discretion and reticence of the Friars. They had done nothing to preserve the memory of their Founder. What Jordan condemns a negligence may perhaps be explained by the brethren’s profound respect for what Dominic wished. When his glory could no longer remain “buried”, however, the indirect but concurring testimony of the depositions at the process of canonization brought out the splendour of Dominic’s undeviating and remarkable humility.
Dominic experienced that tension, common to many founders, between charismatic authority and the desire for self-effacement. It is as if some mysterious law is at work effecting a complete withdrawal, either free or imposed. With Dominic, obscurity was his own deliberate achievement.
He lived among his brethren as if he were not present. He had no bed, no cell of his own. He scarcely ate, yet followed the common life and the Rule in all points. Anyone could approach him. A joyous person, yet with compassion for others’ misfortunes, his apostolic availability, fraternal, friendly and spontaneous as it was, eloquently proved his Christian dispossession.