Saint Dominic



Knight of the Truth

Liturgical Feast : August 4

Saint Dominic’s chief glory among men lies in the broad and free spirit bequeathed to the threefold religious family of friars, nuns and tertiaries which perpetuates in our times the apostolate of spreading of the Truth and of fight against the errors and against those who spread them, inaugurated by him in the thirteenth century.

What, then, was this spirit which he gave to his followers and which is the special mark of his genius ?

Briefly, we may say the essence of this spirit is embodied in his intellectual ideal, which distinguished Saint Dominic among the great leaders who, by several fashions of religious life, have founded in the Church institutes to lead souls Godward.

By no mere accident the motto of his religious family is « Truth », for this word touches the magic appeal of saint Dominic’s heart. Were we to choose a text to express the peculiar mold of his genius, we could find none better than the Saviour’s words : « The Truth shall make you free » (Jn 8, 32). He aimed at truth and attained freedom of soul. Consequently, he zealously fought against the errors which destroyed truth in the souls : a good pastor doesn’t only gives pasture to his flock. He also protects it against the wolves. If not, he cannot be called a good pastor. He is a mercenary !

The long student life of Saint Dominic at Palencia (Spanish famous University of this time), his years of contemplation as canon of the cathedral of Osma (Spain), his apostolic preaching in Languedoc (south of France) against the Cathars, his dispersion of the brethren (August 15, 1217) to the University centers just after the foundation of the Order (December 22, 1216), and finally the astounding influence which his friars straightway exercised at these power-houses of learning – all these facts bring out strikingly clear the intellectual mission of Saint Dominic and of the Order he founded.

And moreover, was it not this mark of his genius that, in the thirteenth century, charmed the most virile intellect of Europe, Saint Thomas Aquinas ?

The secret of Saint Dominic’s holiness, then, was his fast-knit friendship with Christ, who is the Truth, the model of perfect spiritual freedom, the freedom of the children of God.

(From the book Dominican saints, by Dominican novices, Washington D.C., The Rosary Press, Dominican Publications, 1921.  Slightly revised by the Dominican Fathers of Avrillé.)

Liturgical prayers to our blessed father, Saint Dominic

O Lumen Ecclésiae,

Doctor veritátis,

Rosa patiéntiæ,

Ebur castitátis,

Aquam sapiéntiae

Propinásti gratis;

Prædicátor grátiæ,

Nos junge beátis.

Light of the Church,

Teacher of truth,

Rose of patience,

Ivory of chastity:

Thou didst freely pour forth

the waters of wisdom;

Preacher of grace,

unite us to the blessed !

O SPEM MIRAM, quam dedísti mortis hora te fléntibus, dum post mortem promisísti te profutúrum frátribus ! Imple, Pater, quod dixísti, nos tuis juvans précibus.

V. Qui tot signis claruísti in ægrórum corpóribus, nobis opem ferens Christi, ægris medére móribus. Imple, Pater, quod dixísti, nos tuis juvans précibus.

R. Glória Patri et Fílio et Spirítui Sancto. Imple, Pater, quod dixísti, nos tuis juvans précibus.

SWEET THE HOPE thy fainting breath

Gave to those who wept thy death,

Promising, though life were flown,

Thou wouldst still protect Thine own,

Father, keep that gracious word

Pleading for us with our Lord.

V. Who so oft was wont to shine

Midst the sick with powers divine,

To our languid souls apply

Christ’s restoring remedy.

Father, keep that gracious word,

Pleading for us with Our Lord.

R. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Ghost

Father, keep that gracious word,

Pleading for us with Our Lord.