St Dominic - Part 2
The following is a quotation from the Libellus on the Beginnings of the Order of Preachers, written by Blessed Jordan of Saxony who knew Dominic personally and who became Master of the Order after Dominic’s death. Here he describes Dominic as a man rich in human qualities, madly in love with God and neighbour, wholly dedicated to preaching the Gospel.
“Far more impressive and spendid than all his miracles, were the exceptional integrity of Dominic’s character and the extraordinary energy of divine zeal which carried him along; these proved beyond all doubt that he was a vessel of honour and grace. His mind was always steady and calm, except when he was stirred by a feeling of compassion and mercy; and since a happy heart makes for a cheerful face, the tranquil composure of the inner man was revealed outwardly by the kindliness and cheerfulness of his expression. He never allowed himself to become angry. In every reasonable purpose which his mind conceived in accordance with God’s will, he maintained such constancy that he hardly ever consented to change any plan which he had formulated with due deliberation. By his cheerfulness he easily won the love of everybody. Without difficulty he found his way into people’s hearts as soon as they saw him.Wherever he went he always overflowed with inspiring words. He had an abundant supply of edifying stories, with which he directed people’s minds to the love of Christ. Everywhere in word and in deed he showed himself to be a man of the Gospel.During the day nobody was more sociable and happy with his companions but at night nobody was more thoroughly dedicated to keeping vigil and to prayers. The day he gave to his neighbours, the night he gave to God. It was his frequent habit to spend the whole night in church, so that he hardly ever seemed to have any fixed bed of his own to sleep in – he used to pray and keep vigil at night to the very limit of what he could force his frail body to endure.Everyone was enfolded in the wide embrace of his charity and since he loved everyone, everyone loved him. He was full of affection and gave himself utterly to caring for his neighbours and to showing sympathy for the unfortunate.Another thing which made him so attractive to everybody was his straightforwardness; there was never a hint of guile or duplicity in anything he said or did.”Jordan concludes his account by encouraging us all to imitate the example of Dominic: “Let us follow in our father’s footsteps to the best of our ability, and also let us give thanks to our Redeemer, who has granted to his servants such a remarkable man to lead us along the path we are walking, giving us new birth through him into the clear light of this way of life. Let us entreat the Father of mercies that we may be directed by the Spirit who leads God’s children, so that, following the path marked out by our fathers, we may attain to that same goal of eteranl happiness and everlasing bliss to which he has already happily come and that we may never trun aside from the right way.”
(taken from Jordan of Saxony: on the beginnings of the Order of Preachers; edited and translated by Simon Tugwell OP, Dominican Publications, 1982.- nos 103-109)