Published by Dominican Nuns Ireland in Reflections (Dominican) · 6 August 2020
Tags: St, Dominic, Prayer
Tags: St, Dominic, Prayer
It is a happy coincidence that the Feast of the Transfiguration occurs during the Novena to St. Dominic. Because I was thinking about the Mystery of the Transfiguration I was more alert to some elements of Dominic’s life than I might otherwise have been. Two things in particular caught my attention. In St. Dominic’s nine ways of prayer there is the following observation, to quote:
At other times he, Dominic, would remain quietly on his knees, his mind caught up in wonder, and this sometimes lasted a long time. Sometimes it seemed from the way he looked that he had penetrated heaven in his mind, and then he would suddenly appear radiant with joy, wiping away the abundant tears running down his face.
We are told over and again that Dominic gave his nights to prayer. In this pen picture of Dominic at prayer we are given privileged insight into what transpired during that time and why these lengthily vigils were such an integral, irreplaceable dimension of his life. It describes the change which took place in him when he responded to God’s invitation expressed so well by St. Anastasius in today’s second lesson ----Let us listen to the voice of God which summons us from on high from the mountain top. With Jesus, through Jesus and in Jesus, Dominic entered into the abyss of the Trinity and as St. Catherine would say ‘tasted the sweetness of the Godhead’, an experience which was reflected, as he biographers tells ‘in the beauty of his countenance, his face always radiant, the tranquil composure of the inner man being revealed outwardly by the kindliness and cheerfulness of his expression’. It would appear that what St. Anastasius wished for us on this feast became a reality in Dominic.
May the eyes of our mind shine with his light and the features of our soul be made new, may we transfigured with Jesus and moulded into his image, ever becoming divine, being transformed into an even greater glory.
But unlike St. Peter as he witnessed Christ’s Transfiguration, Dominic’s experience does not move him to cry out- ‘ Lord it is good for us to be here. Let us build three tents’ and remain in this wonderful place. No, unlike Peter who was looking on at Jesus from the outside, Dominic in prayer, was in the transfigured Lord and so his response way the cry of Jesus own heart- Lord have mercy on your people , what will become of sinners. It is within this experience of God’s love that the Order is conceived. Realising the depths of God’s love for humanity and experiencing Jesus own desire that all people should know how much the Father loves us, Dominic became consumed with a longing to be conformed to Christ crucified and to give himself totally for the salvation of souls. So powerful was this encounter, that he founded the Order solely for this purpose.
Dominic’s mission, our mission originates in the heart of God; it has its roots in God loving the world so much that He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes may not be lost but may have Eternal life. We are sent by the Father as Jesus was sent. But like Dominic we have to know this not just with our heads, we need to experience it in our hearts. To be consumed with a desire to reveal God’s mercy to others, to have a fire in our belly, we have first to receive that mercy. In order to receive mercy, we have to know our own need for mercy, we have to be aware that we are sinners. We too need to spend time, long and often, bathing ourselves in the divine Mercy. It is only then that we will know firsthand the answer to the cry –what will become of sinners? We will be able to assure all those to whom we are sent what will become of sinners - they will be taken into the loving embrace of God just as the Prodigal son was and just as we have been. This is the good News that we are heralds of. Even if we never leave the confines of the Monastery, our growth in charity as we immerse ourselves in God’s love is mysteriously fruitful for the growth of the whole people of God. By our hidden life we prophetically proclaim what our Brothers and Sisters preach, that in Christ alone is true happiness to be found, here by grace and afterwards in glory.
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