Here we are again, at the beginning of another novena to St Dominic, in anticipation of his feast, with whom we have, so to speak, ‘thrown in our lot.’
What have we done and what does it all mean?What can we ask of St Dominic, as we daily take up the task of fidelity, of perseverance and of trust in the love and mercy of God?
Blessed Reginald of Orleans, when asked if her had any regrets in having entered the Order of Preachers, memorably responded,
“I very much doubt if there is any merit in it for me,because I have always found so much pleasurein the Order.”
Being disciples of St Dominic, these days of novena are a good opportunity to remember what a tremendous gift our Dominican vocation is, and to be grateful for it, as Blessed Reginald was. We have received the fullness of everything – of life; of faith; of mercy; and of membership in an Order whose motto is Truth. Indeed, we lack nothing, is there anything more we could possibly want?
And yet, every night we ask St Dominic to unite us with the blessed – nos junge beatus, as we sing in the antiphon ‘O Lumen Ecclesiæ.’ And each Tuesday, we remind him of his promise to the brethren who were with him at his death: that he would be of more service to them after death, than ever he had been while alive – and we ask him to fulfill that promise even now.
In the first book of the Kings, we read of God saying to Solomon:
“Ask what you would like me to give you.” 1 Kings 3:5
We are to ask for more, then.
So, what can we ask of the LORD through St Dominic’s intercession?
The First Reading of this morning’s Mass seemed to answer these questions, taken from the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer 18:1-6).
The LORD invited Jeremiah to see, in a potter’s house, how He shapes and re-shapes clay – men of dust – to purify us and to fit us for eternal beatitude.
This Order of Preachers could be very much likened to a potter’s house, in which we present ourselves to the LORD, under the protection and through the unfailing, ceaseless intercession of St Dominic. Here in this house, we seek the humility to grow in honesty and truth before God: asking Him to work with us, to shape us and mould us and heal us and cleanse us, that we might become faithful Dominicans – authentic witnesses of the Gospel we preach and by which we strive of live.
And in faith and trust we can be bold enough to depend on His mercy, for we are – like the House of Israel – held in His hand.
May St Dominic obtain for us this unmerited gift of grace.
And may we come to deserve such mercy and love.
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