St Dominic & Moses

In his Libellus, Blessed Jordan tells us that “everywhere Dominic showed himself to be a man of the Gospel in word and in deed” – a man who brought good news and indeed like Christ, his Divine Exemplar, embodied in his own person the good news of the Gospel.

No doubt Dominic’s apostolic zeal sprang from his deep interior relationship with God – we are told that he spent long hours, often the entire night, in prayer and always spoke only “to God or of God”. While reflecting on this aspect of Dominic’s life, the first reading at this morning’s Mass caught my attention.  There, we see Moses being enveloped in the cloud, symbol of God’s mysterious Presence and speaking to Him “face to face as a man speaks to his friend.” But this intimate relationship was not solely for the benefit of Moses himself – rather God wanted to use Moses for the work of leading his people from slavery to freedom. God reveals Himself as a “God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness, forgiving faults, yet letting nothing go unchecked.”  So Moses has the courage to invite God to accompany them on their journey, to forgive them their faults and sins and adopt them as His own heritage although he admits that “they are a headstrong people.”

When we examine Blessed Jordan’s description of Dominic’s character we find similar traits as those of Moses which I have just mentioned.  As a young man he developed a passionate appetite for God’s word- we get the picture of him imbibing Sacred Scripture with eager longing and storing it in the deepest recesses of his mind but like Moses this pursuit of wisdom and intimate relationship with God was never a purely private affair or solely for his own personal advantage but his love of piety fertilised what he learned, so that it brought forth fruit in the form of saving works – we know that he communicated the tenderness and compassion of God, which he imbibed in prayer, to all and sundry alike.  We are told that in loving all he was beloved by all.
Dominic’s memory was a kind of “barn” for God to fill while his external behaviour and actions publicly broadcast the treasure that lay hidden in his holy breast.  He warmly accepted the Lord’s commandments and his will welcomed the voice of his Lover with loyalty and pleasure – in his contemplation he was able to penetrate the mystery and then communicate it to others through his preaching and his actions.

Dominic’s promise of being more helpful after his death than during his life ought to fill us with confidence – we can rely on his intercession to obtain for us the grace of always following in his footsteps – so that, through our life of prayer and sacrifice we may allow the seed which is the Word of God to grow in our heart by the power of the Holy Spirit and in so receiving it may we be interiorly renewed and more closely conformed to Christ so that we can truly be nuns of the Order of Preachers.