Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest
By JENNIFER BURGIN
Moses said to the people: “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates."
One afternoon while in the check-out line at Target, I noticed a clever marketing campaign. A small cardboard tower displayed bottles of Coke Zero. Written on the label of each bottle were the words "Share a Coke with [A Name]." I like personalized stuff, so I sorted through the bottles looking for the name Jennifer. Sadly, I came up bottle empty! Either nobody wants to share a Coke with me or Jennifer just so happens to be one of the most popular girl names in the English language! My disappointment didn't last long when I discovered an even cooler name: Share a Coke Zero with Dominic. Since I am a new Lay member of the Dominican family, the name "Dominic" is quite special. I took a photo with my smartphone and posted it on our group's Facebook page. Several "likes" followed.
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers. He was known for his good nature, joy, wisdom, piety, and miracles. In the 13th century, Saint Dominic recognized the urgent need to combat the Albigensian heresy rampant in France and Italy. He educated and reformed several communities of religious women as one of his first apostolic works. Because most priests and monks lived in monasteries, the idea of the itinerant (traveling preacher) caused quite a bit of controversy. Along with the preaching, Dominic encouraged the friars to pray the Divine Office and undergo rigorous study in doctrine and scripture as part of formation. As a result, Dominicans became known as an intellectual order, often associated with universities. The Truth (Veritas) was best proclaimed armed with knowledge.
In modern day, Saint Dominic would be considered quite an eccentric. He walked from town to town, carrying with him the Book of Matthew and the Letters of Saint Paul. He preferred to walk on bare feet as a form of penance. Those who traveled with Dominic recalled how he sang hymns while on the road. At night he spent many hours in prayerand slept everywhere in the church except in his own bed. As for meals, he refused to eat meat and fasted regularly. Saint Dominic is best known for his Nine Ways of Prayer and the early devotion to the most Holy Rosary.
I can write on and on about Saint Dominic, however, for sake of brevity, I encourage blog followers to read further about his life. Much of what is known about him comes from interviews taken during his canonization process. Unfortunately, Dominic left very few written records. He was too busy preaching, walking and praying!
The Order of Preachers will be celebrating their 800 year Jubilee beginning in November 2015 through the early part of 2017. It's an exciting time for the Dominican family with lots of events planned. In fact, I will be traveling to Rome in February 2016 to see some of the sites related to Saint Dominic. I'll be staying at one of the very first convents Saint Dominic reformed. I plan to blog about my pilgrimage. Stay tuned.
We can share a Coke with a friend. However, it's much better to share God with a friend. Who needs a bunch of empty calories and artificial sweeteners when we can nourish our bodies with the divine sweetness of Jesus Christ! Saint Dominic loved to preach the Word of God and spread the good news. We can do the same thing if we put our hearts, minds, and strength to the task!
"A man who governs his passions is master of his world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil" - Saint Dominic
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please visit her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality