In reflecting on the life of St Dominic, in preparation for his Feast-day, I was struck once again by his passion for preaching, for the proclamation of the Gospel. For most of his adult life he longed to go and bring Christ to those pagans who had never heard the gospel. Although this was not possible, he founded his order in response to the Albigensian heresy, working tirelessly to proclaim the Truth, who is Christ, to those who had been deceived by falsehoods and half-truths. As Jordan of Saxony, Dominic’s successor, wrote, it was for “these innumerable souls who were deceived that they felt moved by deep compassion”.
This is in marked contrast to an attitude sometimes encountered today: the idea that what matters is the sincerity of one’s beliefs not what is believed. At times this can go so far as thinking that people would be ‘better off’ not knowing, because once they are given the Gospel they will be obliged to ‘keep all the requirements’, and will fail and sin whereas at the moment they are not sinning because they don’t know. Thinking about this presented me with something of a jolt – to what extent are my own thoughts and actions influenced by this attitude? Do I see my faith as a collection of ‘requirements’, of “hard sayings” (Jn 6:60) and not what it truly is, what St Dominic lived and proclaimed: the Good News! The greatest news I could possibly bring to another person – our redemption; the invitation to share, even now, in the inner life of the Trinity; the chance to know Christ, to live in and with Him, most especially in that most intimate communion when we receive Him in the Eucharist. This is why St Dominic founded the Order of Preachers; to bring this Great News to those who were being deprived of the fullness of this relationship with Christ by the half-truths of the Albigensians.
May our Father Dominic intercede for us, that we his children may have the same passion to bring Christ to those who, in our time, are being denied Him by ignorance and falsehoods and half-truths.