On this second day of our Novena in honour of St. Dominic, I cannot help calling to mind one of the great outstanding qualities of St. Dominic, namely, that of his zeal. The dictionary describes it as ’an intense enthusiasm for a cause’, and those belonging to the family of St. Dominic are only too well aware how well this description fits his intense enthusiasm for the salvation of souls.
So much so that he spent his nights and much of his day in prayer, pleading for their salvation, even to the point of offering himself to be cut in pieces to be placed at the gates of hell to save poor sinners. This reminds us of the words of Jesus in
Gospel (Ch.2) ‘Zeal for your house devours me’. St. John’s
Oh, how zealously St. Dominic laboured to bring Christ’s mercy and healing to the people of his time – surely in our day he longs even more to reach out to our needy sisters and brothers, which he does, through the ministry of his many sons and daughters in every part of the world - for those caught up in drug and alcohol addictions, in sexual abuse, slave trading, human trafficking, abortion of innocent babies in the womb and suicide to mention only some of the desperate needs that plague our world in this new millennium.
It was to bring the compassion and healing of Jesus to such needy peoples that St. Dominic founded his Order - specifically for their salvation. We read in the Book of Numbers (Ch.25) ‘the Lord said to Moses: ‘Phinehas the priest, has turned my wrath away from the children of Israel my people, because he was the only one among them to have the same zeal as I have…’. How appropriately these consoling words can be applied to St. Dominic and hopefully also to his children in his Order.
Each member of St. Dominic’s family is called to imitate this same zeal for the salvation of souls – those of us in the cloistered life are called to devote ourselves without hindrance to praying and pleading with God for the salvation of all peoples – called to be devoured by the same zeal as Dominic - and by frequent contact with the furnace of love as he was, we too are set on fire with ardour for the spreading of God’s Kingdom on earth and the salvation of souls.