St Dominic

Novena to St Dominic – Day 2

This reflection concerns prayer and spirituality in the lives of St. Dominic and the early Dominicans and I will quote some passages from the book ‘ Early Dominicans’ (The classics of Western Spirituality) – from the Introduction by Fr. Simon Tugwell O.P.Fr. Simon says :“ that the early Dominicans were not particularly concerned either for themselves or for others with what has come to be called the “interior life”. Some of them, certainly, were great men of prayer, but their prayer was simple, devotional and largely petitionary. They retained the monastic practice of spending some time in private prayer after Compline and Matins, though this was not put into any constitutional text as an obligation. There is no hint at all of any methodical ‘mental prayer’, such as we find in later centuries, nor is there any sign of any theory of mystical progress attached to their simple prayers.” […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 1

A Reflection on St Dominic and Prayer, given by one of our sisters, for first day of our Novena to St DominicTaken from The Life of St. Dominic (1170 – 1221) by Bede Jarrett O.P.For St. Dominic, Prayer was a simple converse of the soul with God; and converse is easier and fuller when it is between two friends. The more, then, the mind can realise friendship with God, which is the essence of religion, the more facile is the heart’s opening of itself, for the problem of prayer is always how to make God the friend not only accepted and believed in, but to form part of the familiar circumstance of life. Everything that could help to produce this truth vividly was made use of: vocal prayer, gestures, beads; and, since he found that a dialogue of speech and silence, a chorus of praise, could be more easily secured […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 9

While reading the Libellus – on the beginnings of the Order – during the past week my attention was drawn to Bl Jordan’s description of our holy Father, Dominic, as someone who “accepted the Lord’s commands so warmly” and whose “will welcomed the voice of his Lover with such loyalty and pleasure”, that he was able “ penetrate the mysteries of difficult theological questions with the humble understanding of his heart.”“Dominic welcomed the voice of his Lover”We live in a world where it is becoming increasingly more difficult to discern the voice of our Lover – the voice of the one who has brought us into existence and who loved us so much that He died for us on the Cross. In the 13th century, as in our own 21st century, there were many false prophets proclaiming a message contrary to the Christian viewpoint and many people were […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 8

Continuing our reflection on St Dominic in preparation for his feast, here is an extract from “The Genius of St Dominic” by Marie Humbert Vicaire OP.The Liberty of the ‘Poor Man’The Bull of Recommendation of the Order to the bishops of December 8, 1219, which already contained the essential terms of the Bull to the brethern of December 12, added a precision. It said that the Preachers ‘reject the burden of worldly riches so as to be able to run more freely (expeditius) in the field of this world’. Some months later the text in the Bologna Constitutions that is expressly attributed to Dominic would use the same word. If those who are deputed to study and preaching are set free from every temporal charge, it is ‘so that they can better fulfil their spiritual mission in a greater liberty (expeditius).’ The image behind the word is that of […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 7

Dominic, Man of Prayer, and Man of the Gospel: Preacher of Grace and Truth. Blessed Raymond tells us in the Life of Catherine “St.Catherine saw the Co-Eternal Son proceeding from the mouth of The Eternal Father and while she was contemplating Him, she saw the Blessed Patriarch, St. Dominic come forth from the breast of the Father all resplendent with brightness. My Son by nature, who is the Eternal Word proceeding from my mouth, preached publicly to the world, whatever I charged him to say. My adopted son Dominic also preached to the world the truth of my Words”. He is still preaching in his successors today 800 years later. The radiance from Dominic’s demeanor and life wholly rooted in Christ captured those who met him, even the most bigoted of Albigensian heretics. His mission was to bring the light of God to the whole world by word […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 6

On this 6th day of our Novena in preparation for St. Dominic’s Feast day, a few thoughts on his spirit of ZEAL in dedicating himself totally to the salvation of souls through the spreading of the Good News of God’s Word are surely vital. Our Lord’s own words in John Ch.2 “Zeal for your house devours me” can also apply so aptly to our father, Dominic.In his Divine Comedy, Dante describes St. Dominic as a ‘friend fast-knit to Christ’ – how very true, for Dominic was indeed one with Christ in his intense life of prayer, in his thirst for the salvation of souls and in his love for the poor, the sick, the troubled.We read in the Book of Numbers Ch.25, “the Lord said to Moses: ‘Phinehas, the priest, has turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, my people, because he was the only one […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 5

One of the things that strikes me about Dominic is his openness to God’s will and his willingness to take the step he sees in faith without a clear vision of where it will finally lead. As Augusta Drane says in her account of his life:“His call was not sudden, or miraculous, or even extraordinary; it was that which is the likeliest to come to people like ourselves; particular impressions of mind were given just at the time when circumstances combined together gradually to develop the way in which those impressions could be carried out. He was always being led forward, not knowing there whither he went. As sub-prior of Osma he probably saw nothing before him but the ordinary community life of the cathedral chapter. Then came the journey to Denmark, on a mission whose ostensible object was a failure, but whose real end in the design of […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 4

From “On the Beginnings of the Order of Preachers” by Jordan of Saxony OP:Far more impressive and splendid than all his miracles, though, wre the exceptional intergity of his character and the extraordinary energy of divine zeal which carried him along; these proved beyond all doubt that he was a vessel of honour and grace, adorned with every kind of “precious stone”. Hi mind was always steady and calm, except when he was stirred by a feeling of compassion and mercy; and, since a happy heart makes for a cheerful face, the tranquil composure of the inner man was revealed outwardly by the kindliness and cheerfulness of his expression. He never allowed himself to become angry. In every reasonable purpose his mind conceived, in accordance with God’s will, he maintained such constancy that he hardly ever, if ever, consented to change any plan which he had formulated with due […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 3

Dominic and PrayerThe Nine Ways of Prayer of St Dominic was written by an anonymous author, probably at Bologna, sometime between 1260 and 1288. The source of his information was Sr Cecilia of the Monastery of St Agnes at Bologna (who had been received to the habit by St Dominic) and others who had been in contact with the Holy Founder. This venerable document testifies to the eminent holiness of the Saint, showing something of his intimate life and intense love of God.The Fourth Way of PrayerSt Dominic would remain before the altar or in the chapter room with his gaze fixed on the Crucified One, looking upon Him with perfect attention. He genuflected frequently, again and again. He would continue sometimes from after Compline until midnight, now rising, now kneeling again, like the Apostle St James, or the leper of the gospel who said on bended knee: “Lord, […]

Novena to St. Dominic – Day 2

Reflecting on the life, character and example of St. Dominic during this Novena and simultaneously aware of the Mass Readings this morning focusing so strongly on the Eucharist, I was struck again, as I have been before, on how deeply St. Dominic seemed to have understood the extraordinary mystery of the Eucharist. We know this from several witnesses who gave testimonies at the process of canonization-for example:Brother Bonvisus said: “Sometimes I served his Mass. I would then watch his expression, and I used to see so many tears running down his face that the drops ran in a stream.”Brother Stephen testified “ that very frequently he saw him celebrate Mass, and noticed that his eyes and cheeks were wet with tears during the Canon. It was quite easy for those present to perceive this devotion from his great fervour during Mass and the way that he said […]