The feast of St. Dominic
Nahum 2:1,3, 3:1-3
As today the Olympics begin in Beijing, China, the Church celebrates the life of one of its "Olympians": St. Dominic helped the Church "run the race" in the late 1100’s and early 1200’s, and has challenged countless others to know Jesus, and to follow Him.
Today’s feast day scriptures highlight our charge as disciples to personally know Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and to willingly proclaim that Good News in both spirit and power. The gospel portrait of Jesus pictures him calling his disciples, encouraging them to let nothing stand in the way of their discipleship, not even their most treasured relationships.
St. Dominic followed Jesus as a simple yet eloquent itinerant preacher, combating heresies and winning over hearts for Jesus. As his preaching bore more fruit, others were attracted to his style of life and preaching, and "leaving all things behind" St. Dominic and that early band founded the Order of Preachers in 1215. They sought to link everyday life with God through study and prayer, leading to a ministry of salvation by the Word of God. He invited others to join him and his new community in both contemplation of God’s salvific work, and then focused activity to build up God’s Kingdom. His insights and efforts were blessed, the Church grew, and today Dominican men and women span the globe in service of the Good News.
We may not be Olympic athletes or formal members of the Dominican family; our daily lives may be filled with all-too-much activity and too-little time for quiet moments (much less serious contemplation!). God continues to call each of us to follow Him in the complex reality of 21st century life. Can we "run the race"? Can we be free enough to leave everything else behind to focus on Jesus Crucified? Can we "preach" by our lives, if not by formal wordy sermons?
St. Dominic’s life faithfully proclaims that it is possible. May we each respond "Amen!" to God at work in our world.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.