Preach It, Brother!

Pregnancy can do strange things to a person, but to the mother of St. Dominic (1170-1221), it merely inspired some rather odd prophetic dreams. For instance, she dreamed that she gave birth to a dog with a torch in his mouth, which then proceeded to run throughout the world, setting all afire.

In light of later events, she seems more inspired than strange.

Saint Dominic, whose feast we celebrate on Aug. 8, founded an order sometimes jokingly referred to as the "dogs of God," not just because of his mother's dream, but also because of a Latin pun - people would sometimes refer to Domini canes instead of "Dominicans."

Saint Dominic, founder of the order of Friars Preachers, and (tradition tells us) the one to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary gave the Rosary, demonstrates to us how incredibly connected both memory and preaching the Good News are. We must remember who we are (the Chosen People of God) before we can proclaim the Good News (Jesus is Lord; God is love; and all are called to communion of life and love with the Blessed Trinity). We must "Do this (celebrate the Eucharist - eat the Bread of Life; drink the Cup of Salvation) in remembrance of Me." Then we are sent out - Ite, missa est! Go, you are sent! - at the end of Mass to proclaim the Gospel with our lives.

The Rosary is a cord of memory, binding us together with the Good News of the Incarnation, the story of the Gospel a chain reaching across time and space, backwards and forwards with its effects. All graces come through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ comes from a particular mother of a particular people in a particular time and place in history. That time and place now has a special role in eternity. Those events will never die. The relationships forged are eternal, for at least One of the persons involved in them is eternal.

Those events have power, as Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, explains in The 'One Thing' is Three, power to save, to transform, to sanctify, to renew the world and everything in it. By the persistence of memory, we can tap into that power. We can invite God into our lives, to our times, bringing in that same power through faith and the sacraments into this day, this place, wherever we are, whenever we are.

This is the power of the Mass, where, by Word and Sacrament, Jesus is made present again and again. We re-call Him in the readings, for all the Scriptures speak of Him (see Lk 24:26). We re-present His once-for-all sacrifice at Calvary in the Eucharist. We stand at the foot of His Cross; we eat His flesh, and drink His blood, and so have life within us (see Jn 6:35, 47-51, 53-54).

This is the power of the Rosary, where, by spoken prayers and silent meditation, we remember the events of the Incarnation. and accompany Jesus and Mary through the consummation of our redemption.

So on the feast of St. Dominic, let us ask him to pray that we are always faithful both to participating in the Mass and in saying the Rosary. Let's ask his intercession for all who are given the gift and ministry of preaching, that they speak powerful words of comfort and challenge, according to the will and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, always speaking the fullness of the truth in love.


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