(first published August 8, 2014)
Dominic -- pictured meeting with Francis of Assisi early in the 13th century -- gathered a fraternity of preachers and teachers. He recognized that heresies could only be countered by knowledge of the Real Truth and delivery of this Truth by holy preachers. Thus the Dominican motto: VERITAS.
What was particularly lacking in Saint Dominic's day was articulate and intelligent doctrinal preaching. The whole reason of being for the Dominicans was spreading the Good News of our Lord.
I came across a sermon by a Polish preacher in which he described Dominic as "God's athlete" for his implacable struggle against the Dragon who tries to deceive us and deliver us to eternal darkness. He mentioned three ways that the Spanish saint did this:
- as is shown by the painting (below) by Blessed Fra Angelico – St. Dominic eagerly adored the cross as the venue where Christ defeated death;
- through the preaching of the Word of truth and life for the conversion of others, St. Dominic tied up the demon by the Word of God, giving to the seekers the light of the true Gospel;
- as one of the Dominican legends says, when Satan visited one of the first convents, he got scared of the 'capitular' – the place where brothers confess their faults; the life rooted in humility, the awareness of the fact of how much a person needs the Savior, this is the moment when Satan loses.
"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." (St. Dominic)
Fra Angelico (d. 1455) was one of the countless simple souls whose spiritual gaze became more luminous through their association with the Dominicans. Pope John Paul II beatified the Florentine painter, naming him the patron of Catholic artists. Here is his free rendition of the Transfiguration of the Lord, with the inclusion of the Virgin Mary and Saint Dominic on either side: