These past days we have been reflecting on the life and virtues of St Dominic and his zeal for the salvation of souls.  Blessed Jordan of Saxony concludes his Libellus (a short history of the beginnings of the Order) with the exclamation: “who could ever hope to imitate the virtues of this man Dominic?” and he continues: “we can however admire them and weigh up the slackness of our own generation against his example.” 

In the face of Dominic’s virtues Jordan more or less felt that we could never reach that holiness without an extra special grace – somehow we hear a certain resignation in his tone as he encourages us to “follow in our father’s footsteps to the best of our ability.”  But I’m sure Dominic himself would have something different to say to us.  No doubt, Dominic was convinced that God’s infinite love and mercy which were the source of his strength and his zeal, were available to all his children.  He was always aware of how much he himself stood in need, totally dependent on God’s infinite mercy and in prayer frequently called out for that mercy: “Lord what will become of sinners!”  Although Dominic preserved his Baptismal innocence throughout his life this was not the result of any merit on his part – he knew that he stood in need of God’s infinite mercy as much as the greatest sinner.  I think that Dominic’s wish would be that each of us become the person we were created to be – not a replica of himself.  We see this from his respect for individuals – a respect which has been a characteristic of the Order down to the present day.  Often our discouragement stems from our efforts at trying to imitate someone else or while being blind to what the Lord is doing in our own hearts.  In this morning’s homily we were reminded that our “true identity is based on the fact that we are children of God, created in his image with a role in life that no other can fulfil – to really know this in one’s heart and to live accordingly as Dominic did, is surely the road to unending happiness” and holiness.

Dominic’s joy and cheerfulness surely sprang from this knowledge of being loved infinitely – fruit of his many hours of contemplation of the Crucified Saviour.  Jesus has saved the world and taken on Himself the sins of all of us – now He desires that we open our hearts to receive the gift of His love and in freedom to live by that love. This gift is available to all of us if we allow that area of our heart to be spoken to.  But am I willing to open?  In today’s world there is great emphasis on effort but our effort  must be rather more faith and trust, letting go and letting God do His work.  All our yesterdays lead us to the now of today and now must always be new and different and must mean letting go as fully as possible and let myself live more and more out of the gift of God.

As we celebrate this feast may we experience some of the joy which Dominic had in his heart and may he intercede for us with the Lord Jesus that we too may be given the gift of true charity to enable us to spend ourselves and let ourselves be spent in the service of our Lord and Saviour and of our brothers and sisters.