Today the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of St. Dominic.
Dominic began his religious life as a Benedictine and, as a Benedictine, was one of the monks assigned to combat the Albigensian heresy through prayer, fasting and instruction. You may recall that the Albigensian error taught that there were two gods: The good god of light – Jesus in the New Testament, and the god of darkness and evil usually associated with Satan but also the God of the Old Testament. The Albigensians considered anything material to be evil, including the body, which was created by Satan, in contrast to the good soul created by God.
Many other monks were unsuccessful in combatting this heresy; according to writings from the period, some of the monks had become worldly and even pompous in their approach, surrounding themselves with material artifacts which repulsed the Albigensians.
Dominic and his companion were austere by comparison to some of these worldly monks and this austerity and personal self discipline appealed to many of the heretics who had been deceived in their thinking. Dominic traveled throughout the region, preaching and converting many back to Catholic Christian faith and practice.
In July 1215 Dominic was granted permission to form his own religious order dedicated to promoting morality and the expulsion of heresy. It was Pope Honorius III, who, in confirming the new order, dubbed Dominic and his followers “The Order of Preachers.”
Dominic continued to preach austerity and humility to his followers.
“Arm yourself with prayer instead of a sword; be clothed with humility instead of fine raiment.”
“These, my much loved ones, are the bequests which I leave to you as my sons; have charity among yourselves; hold fast to humility; keep a willing poverty.”
“We must sow the seed, not hoard it.”
Dominic’s is a message much needed on our world today. Blessings on this day of his memorial.