- Monday, 08 August 2016 08:32
On the Novus Ordo liturgical calendar today, we honor Saint Dominic de Guzman (c.1174 – 1221), yet on he died on August 5th and on the Extraordinary Form liturgical calendar the feast is celebrated on August 4th.
Dominic was a pivotal figure in the life of the Church in the 13th century in similar ways that others were, including the Poor Man of Assisi. The inspiration of Dominic set the world ablaze with fire in ways unknown since the time of the 12 Apostles and the early Church bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people, the sacraments, teaching truth and fact and living in a compassionate way among the people. One great example is that the early Dominicans taught about the goodness of creation versus the prevailing idea of the 13th century that taught the opposite causing disturbing results of uncertainty and false notions of God and the beauty of humanity.
Our common conception of Dominic’s genius and work with his band of preachers was that he responsible for the whole thing. History tells us that he was born in the small Castilian village of Caleruega, Spain, a canon and a priest in the service of Bishop Diego. Dominic accompanied Diego on mission for the good of the Pope’s mission for the universal Church. In this experience of mission Dominic saw the need. But, as Friar Simon Tugwell OP notes, “the Order was not simply his personal brainchild and he was not, and never claimed to be, its sole inspiration or even the primary embodiment of its nature and ideals.”
Hence it can be said that Dominic was raised up by Divine Providence so as to bring to birth a new movement within the Church – itinerant mendicant friars – and he accomplished this by engaging with the needs of his time and in collaboration with other people. “It was always with his brethren and with the authorities of the Church that he shaped the nascent Order of Preachers.” By his own self-reflection Dominic called himself “the humble servant of the preaching” and this is first part of the charism of the Order. The group founded by Dominic was known as the “Friars Preachers” and the Church entrusts them with the preaching mission and officially recognized by the Church on 21 January 1217, by Pope Honorius III.
800 years later, Dominic continues to move the hearts and minds of contemporary men and women in love of the Trinity: the Order of Preachers has a part of the family the friars (the first order), the cloistered nuns (the second order), the sisters (the third order), the secular priests’ group and the fraternity (the third order laity) and countless others who have picked up the charism. One old aspect of the Dominican charism that needs to be restored is the group of donati (like the famous St. Martin de Porres was).
- Friday, 29 April 2016 11:27
As the image shows, Saint Catherine of Siena cutting her hair and putting aside her beautiful clothing is interpreted as an act of modesty, chastity and a gesture of asceticism. Thus, she turns her eyes toward the Lord her Divine Spouse and away from man (the world).
Saint Catherine’s new and divine generativity is the result of her intense relationship with the Lord. More than her “speaking truth to power” which many today recognize in her, the key to knowing Saint Catherine and her place in the spiritual life is her ability to remain singular in her attraction to the things of God and his transformative Love. Concretely, this love centered on the Eucharist. As Pope Benedict XVI said,
Like the Sienese Saint, every believer feels the need to be conformed with the sentiments of the heart of Christ to love God and his neighbour as Christ himself loves. And we can all let our hearts be transformed and learn to love like Christ in a familiarity with him that is nourished by prayer, by meditation on the Word of God and by the sacraments, above all by receiving Holy Communion frequently and with devotion. Catherine also belongs to the throng of Saints devoted to the Eucharist with which I concluded my Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (cf. n. 94). Dear brothers and sisters, the Eucharist is an extraordinary gift of love that God continually renews to nourish our journey of faith, to strengthen our hope and to inflame our charity, to make us more and more like him.
How much more ought we to follow this most beloved saint today: she indeed speaks to the heart of the matter. If you are serious, look at Catherine!
- Thursday, 18 February 2016 15:04
Brother Angelico was reported to say: “He who does Christ’s work must stay with Christ always.” This motto earned him the epithet “Blessed Angelico,” because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Quoted of Saint John Paul II, who beatified Fra Angelico on October 3, 1982, and then in 1984 declared him patron of Catholic artists.
Blessed Angelico (his name in religion was Fra Giovanni) joined the Dominicans in Fiesole, Italy in 1407. He was taught to illuminate missals and manuscripts, and immediately exhibited an awesome talent as an inspired artist. Today his works can be seen in the Italian cities Cortona, Fiesole, Florence, and in the Vatican.
- Saturday, 08 August 2015 08:06
The 8th day of August finds us honoring the person of Saint Dominic de Guzman, the Spanish founder of the Order of Preachers of the 13th century. We are at 800 years since the founding of the Order. One of the most intriguing stories of Dominic is his commitment to teaching the truth to a man in need of knowing the Truth. The Church rejoices in this great son whose only desire was to sharing the fruits of his contemplation.
Here in Connecticut there are several Dominican locations: Saint Mary’s Priory & Church (New Haven), Our Lady of Grace Monastery (N. Guilford), the Sisters of Peace (New Haven), Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima (Hartford) and the Vietnamese Dominican Sisters (Hartford). AND the Fraternity of Saint Dominic (the Laity)! May Dominic lead all to Christ.
Benedict XVI tells us:
St Dominic reminds us that prayer, personal contact with God is at the root of the witness to faith which every Christian must bear at home, at work, in social commitments and even in moments of relaxation; only this real relationship with God gives us the strength to live through every event with intensity, especially the moments of greatest anguish. This Saint also reminds us of the importance of physical positions in our prayer. Kneeling, standing before the Lord, fixing our gaze on the Crucifix, silent recollection — these are not of secondary importance but help us to put our whole selves inwardly in touch with God. I would like to recall once again the need, for our spiritual life, to find time everyday for quiet prayer; we must make this time for ourselves, especially during the holidays, to have a little time to talk with God. It will also be a way to help those who are close to us enter into the radiant light of God’s presence which brings the peace and love we all need.
- Saturday, 08 August 2015 07:24
In case you are wondering, this is “St. Dominic and the Devil” (c. 1630) by Pietro della Vecchia, from the collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In relates one of my favorite stories of St. Dominic (not least because it involves a monkey!): “The story of the Devil’s appearance to St. Dominic in the form of a monkey derives from a medieval legend, according to which the saint seized his tormentor and forced him to hold a lighted candle while he studied. St. Dominic released him only after the candle burned down and singed his fingers.” (http://www.imamuseum.org/…/st-dominic-and-devil-pietro…)