Today we shall trace St. Dominic’s journey to founding the order. St. Dominic grieved the loss of the souls of the children of God- succumbing to the Albigensian heresy. Ever since he find came in contact with the heresy the Divine inspiration of founding a religious order dedicated to preaching of the true faith consumed his mind.
Dominic’s fixed intention of founding a Religious Order, dedicated to the work of preaching, seeming likely to be perpetually frustrated by the duration and vicissitudes of the war, he instantly besought God to restore peace and order. To obtain his request, and hasten the triumph of the faith, he, moved by secret inspiration, instituted that form of prayer sense then so universally practiced throughout the Church under the name of Rosary. When the Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to announce to the Blessed Virgin the mystery of the Incarnation, he saluted her in these words, “Hail, Mary, full of grace The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.” These words, most blessed of all that have fallen on human ears, are from age to age re-echoed by Christian lip, and from the depths of this vale of tears they ever salute the Mother of Jesus in these words, “Hail, Mary, full of grace.” From out the ranks of their most exalted leaders, the heavenly hierarchy selected him who should greet the lowly daughter of David with that glorious salutation; and now that she is throned far above celestial and angelic choirs, the human race, whose daughter and sister she is, still waft to her that angel’s greeting, “Hail, Mary, full of grace.” As soon as she heard the Archangel’s words, the Son of God was conceived in her chaste womb; and now, whenever mortal lips repeat the angelic salutation, the signal of her maternity, she thrills at the recollection of a moment unparalleled in heaven and earth, and all eternity is partaker of her joy. Such were the arms with which Dominic combated heresy and the evils of war; preaching, amid insult, controversy, patience, and voluntary poverty; a life of self-denial; a boundless charity; the gifts of miracles; and, lastly, the promotion of devotion to Our Lady by the institution of the Rosary.
The ten years elapsing between the interview at Montpellier and the Lateran Council, were so uniform in their tenor, that contemporary historians have discerned but few actions to chronicle, in this humble, heroic, and constant exercise of the same virtues. The fear of being monotonous arrested their pen, for the history of a few days would be the history of entire years of Dominic’s life.
Dominic was in his forth-sixth year when he began to reap the fruit of his long labors. In 1215 the gates of Toulouse were thrown open to him by the Crusaders and Providence, who often assembles together the most diverse elements, sent him two men as the nucleus of the future Order of Friar Preachers. Both were citizens of Toulouse, of distinguished birth and remarkable character. The one, Pierre Cellani, a man of large fortune and distinguished virtue; the other, known to us only as Thomas, was noted for his eloquence and singular amiability. Prompted by the same holy inspiration, they simultaneously gave themselves to Dominic’ and Pierre Cellani presented the latter with his own beautiful house. There Dominic gathered together all his followers, numbering six, viz., Pierre Cellani, Thomas, and four others. It was but a very small band, and yet had cost ten years of apostolate, and forty-five years of a life wholly dedicated to the service of God.
“ He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. ”- Mathew 13:31-32
The fruits of the Kingdom of God appear small in the beginning as was the case with St. Dominic. Ten years of apostolate gained him only six disciples, just like a mustard seed, but he patiently trusted in God, now his children have spread all throughout the world and number tens of thousand, gifting thousands of saints and martyrs to the church. We must understand that every work of grace begins small and then grows. We must be patient with God and wait for his time. Blessed is the who waits patiently for the Lord!
They also lived by rule; and their establishment took place with the co-operation, and by the authority, of Foulques, Bishop of Toulouse. Not only did the bishop give the community his patronage, we also have a proof of his generosity on their behalf
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, be it known to all, now and henceforth, that we, Foulques, by the grace of God, Humble servant of the See of Toulouse, desiring to extirpate heresy and banish vice, to teach men the rule of faith and mold them in virtue, institute, as preachers in our diocese, Brother Dominic and his companions, who, as barefooted religious, purpose preaching the gospel and pursuing the path of evangelic poverty. And because the laborer is worthy of his hire, and because it is forbidden to muzzle the ox that treads out the corn, also because he who preaches the gospel should live by the gospel, we desire that Brother Dominic and his companions, in sowing the word of truth in our diocese, may at the same time have their material wants supplied; therefore, with the consent of the Chapter of St. Etienne and that of all the clergy in our diocese, to them and to all such as, moved by zeal in the Lord’s service and desirous of the salvation of souls, shall follow in their steps, we assign, in perpetuity, the sixth part of the tithes accruing to our parish churches, for the relief of their necessities, and in order that from time to time they may be enabled to rest from their labor…..Given in the year of grace 1215, in the reign of Philip, king of France, and during the rule of Montfort, Count of Toulouse.” -Echard’s Ecrivains de l’Ordre des Prêcheurs, vol i. p. 12,
“At this time,” say historians, “Simon, Count de Montfort gave his friend Dominic the châteaux and lands of Cassanct, in the diocese of Agen. In his later years we shall behold Dominic regret having accepted these temporal possessions, which he will renounce, giving as sole patrimony to his children that Faith in the Lord who supplies the daily needs of every zealous worker, and of who has said, “Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.”
Having seen his idea thus far realized, Dominic allowed himself to hope for the approval of the Holy See. Therefore, taking advantage of the approaching Lateran Council, he set out for Rome in the autumn of the year 1215, accompanied by the Bishop of Toulouse. After confiding his disciples to the guard of prayer and study, Dominic proceeded to Rome. Twelve years had elapsed since Don Diégo and he had visited it for the first time, as pilgrims. Although he had the happiness of finding Innocent III still the occupant of the Papal throne, the Holy Father did not at Once accede to Dominic’s request. He had readily consented to take the convent of Prouille( Convent which the saint had organized for women in 1206) under the guardianship of the Holy See, and had issued letters to that effect, dated 8th October 1215; but the Holy Father hesitated to give his approval to a new Order dedicated to preaching.
Historians allege two reasons for this repugnance. First, that preaching being an office transmitted by the Apostles to the Bishops, it seemed contrary to antiquity that it should be exercised by any other than the Episcopal order. True that the Bishops had for some time voluntarily abstained from the honor of announcing the Word of God, and that the Fourth Lateran Council, recently held, had enjoined that the pulpits should be filled by priests, capable of preaching in the Bishop’s stead. Still, it was one thing for each individual Bishop to provide for instructions throughout his diocese by the appointment of vicars revocable at will, and another to confide to a particular Order the perpetual and universal function of preaching. The latter would virtually be the formation of an Apostolic order within the Church, and could any other apostolic order exist besides that of the Episcopacy? Such was the question to which Dominic’s zeal had given birth – a question this which Innocent III could not at once resolve. There was also another difficulty in the way. The Lateran Council having decreed, that in order to avoid the confusion and inconvenience resulting from the multiplicity of Religious Orders, no new ones should be founded, how Could he act in opposition to this solemn decision?
God, who vouchsafes to the Catholic Church an assistance, the perpetuity of which is one Of the visible miracles of His wisdom, desiring only to prove Dominic by this final trial, Now dissipated the Holy Father’s anxiety. Sleeping one night in the palace of St. John Lateran, he dreamt he saw the basilica about to fall, and Dominic supporting the falling walls on his own shoulders. Warned by this inspiration, he sent for Dominic, whom he ordered to return to Languedoc, to select, in concert with his companions, that one of the ancient rules which should appear to him most suited for the formation of the Order with which he desired to enrich the Church. In this way the Lateran decree would be observed, and the seal and protection of antiquity given to a new undertaking.
To be continued…..
O Blessed Lord, through what trials did you lead St. Dominic so that you could sanctify him and make himself Yours alone. In all his necessities You did provide for him. Lord, grant us the grace to walk patiently through the trials and suffering which you prepare for our sanctification, grant us the grace to abandon ourselves completely to your care and experience your providing care. Amen.
Pray for us.
💕💞💕💞💕💞💕💞💕💞 P𝚛𝚊𝚢 𝚒𝚗 𝚑𝚘𝚗𝚘𝚛 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚜𝚊𝚒𝚗𝚝:-
1 O𝚞𝚛 F𝚊𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛. 1 H𝚊𝚒𝚕 M𝚊𝚛𝚢. 1 G𝚕𝚘𝚛𝚢 𝚋𝚎.
PDM – Ruha Mount Attappadi