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Br. Ambrose Sigman, O.P.'s picture

Feast of our Holy Father Dominic

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On the evening of August 6th, 1221, the founder of the Order of Preachers, Dominic de Guzman, lay dying. Surrounded by the brothers of the priory of Saint Nicholas in Bologna, Dominic ordered them to begin the prayers for the commendation of his soul. As the brethren were singing the words “Come to his aid, saints of God. Hasten, angels of the Lord. Receive his soul and offer it before the face of the Most High,” Saint Dominic breathed his last. Today, August 8th, the Universal Church celebrates the feast of our Holy Father Dominic.<--break->

The Dominican Order has never had the same cult of personality surrounding its founder as has some other religious orders, such as the Franciscans, a fact made painfully aware to anyone who knows the story of the canonization process of our founder. Instead, Saint Dominic left something much more valuable than his personal example, as noble and fitting as that example was. Saint Dominic left to his children a dream, a vision of a way of life dedicated to a simple purpose, to preach and to defend the Truth, who is Jesus Christ. For 800 years this need, this desire, has continued to inspire generation after generation.

The beauty of this vision, whose relevance never fades (the world always needs the Truth), has sustained Saint Dominic’s order for eight centuries. We have endured much, suffered much, for the sake of that vision. We have seen ourselves grow at tremendous rates and found great success in our work, yet we have also come face to face with the possibility of our own extinction on more than one occasion. We stand on the shoulders of giants who have forged paths for us through the wildernesses of our mind, our soul, and our world (how many still remember the Unifying Friars of Saint Gregory the Illuminator from Armenia, the Fratres Unitores?). Even though his current sons and daughters may, on occasion, seem like a lesser breed than those who came before, yet we continue to work just as tirelessly, and pray that, by the grace of God, Saint Dominic’s vision may become a reality.

As Saint Dominic lay dying, surrounded by the brethren, he turned to them and said, “Do not weep. I shall be more use to you and bear more fruit for you after death than I ever did in life.” The past 800 years have proven the truth of these words.

V. Ora pro nobis, beate Pater Dominice.

R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.