During Dominic’s absence, God had both blessed and multiplied his little flock; in lieu of the six disciples left by him in Pierre Cellani’s house, in Toulouse, he now found fifteen Or sixteen. After the first effusions of joy at re-union, Notre-Dame-de-Prouille was appointed by Dominic as the meeting-place where to deliberate, in conformity with the Pope’s commands, as to the selection of their Rule. Until that time, in the spring of 1216, their community had only an indefinite and provisional form, as Dominic had devoted himself rather to action than to writing, after the manner of our Lord, who formed His apostles for their mission, not by written rules, but by word and example. Now the hour had arrived when the Dominican family must receive its Rule, so that its mode of life night be defined and perpetuated. Compelled to select as ancestor one of these great men, Dominic’s choice fell on the rule of St.Augustine.
Whilst the monastery of St. Romain was rapidly progressing under the eyes of Dominic, an unforeseen occurrence saddened the heart of the holy patriarch. Innocent III died at Perouse on the 10th July, and two days later, Cardinal Conti, of the ancient race of the Sabelli, was, by a hasty election, raised to the pontifical throne under the name of Honorius III.A third time Dominic crossed the Alps, and, in spite of the embarrassments attendant on a new administration, at once obtained the reward due to his protracted labors. On December 22, 1216, his Order was solemnly confirmed by two Bulls, as follows:-
“Honorius, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his dear son Dominic, Prior of St. Romain of Toulouse, and to the professed Brethren, present and future, health and Apostolic benediction. It behoves that those professing the religious life should be placed under apostolic protection, lest they should be turned aside from their aim by rash attacks, or, which god forbid, their religious life be imperiled. Therefore, dear sons in the Lord, we readily accede to your just demands and take under the protection of the blessed Apostle Peter, and under our own, the church of St. Romain of Toulouse, in the which youu have dedicated yourself to the divine service. We decree, first, that the canonical Order established in this church, according to God’s will and the rule of St. Augustine, be perpetually and inviolably observed there; moreover, that the possessions justly acquired by the said church, or eventually accruing to her by pontifical concession, the alms of the faithful, or in any other legitimate way, remain irrevocably in your hands and those of your successors. We also deem it well to name the following possessions, the church of Prouille and its dependencies, the estate of Cassanel, the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lescure with all its dependencies, the hospital of Toulouse called Arnaud-Bérard and its dependencies, the church of the Sainte-Trinité of Lohens with its dependencies, and the tithes which our venerable brother Foulques, Bishop of Toulouse, in his pious and thoughtful generosity, has, with the consent of his Chapter, ceded to you. That no one resume to demand tithes on the lands cultivated by you, or at your own expense, or on the produce of your cattle. We permit your receiving and retaining, without fear of hindrance, clerics and laics desiring of quitting the world, provided they are bound by no other ties. We forbid your Religious, after their profession, to quite their Order without their Prior’s permission, unless it be to embrace a severer Rule, and we likewise any one to admit such without your consent. You will provide for the services of the parish churches belonging to you by presenting to the Bishop of the diocese Priests worthy of being appointed to the cure of souls, and who will be responsible to him, in things spiritual, and to you, in things temporal. We forbid that your church be subjected to any new conditions; we forbid that either it or you should be laid under an interdict or excommunicated, unless for a reasonable and manifest cause. In case of a general interdict, you may celebrate the Divine Office in a low voice, without bells, and with closed doors, after such as are excommunicated and under the interdict have quitted the church. Chrism, holy oil, consecration of altars or basilicas, ordination of your clerics, shall be obtained from the bishop of the diocese, provided that he be Catholic and in the grace and communion of the Holy See, and that he consent to give you the above without any unjust conditions; in the contrary case, you shall apply to any Catholic bishop you may please to select, provided he be in the grace and communion of the Holy See, and he shall comply with your requests in virtue of our authority. We grant you the right of sepulture in your church; and forbid any opposition to the pious and last wishes of such as desire to be interred there, unless they are excommunicates or under an interdict, and provided that the right of sepulture attaching to other churches be not interfered with. At your decease and that of your successors in the office of Prior, let no one take possession Of the office by ruse or violence, but he who has been duly elected by all, or by the majority of the brethren, according to God and the Rule of St. Augustine. We also ratify the privileges, immunities, and reasonable customs introduced of old and still existing in your church, and desire that they may be observed inviolate. Let none disturb the peace of this church; seize or retain, diminish or meddle, with its possessions; but, saving by Apostolate authority or the canonical decision of the diocesan, let such possession remain jntact, for the use and support of those to whom they have been conceded. If any person, ecclesiastical or secular, cognizant of the above, dare to infringe this Order, and on being warned a second and third time refuse to give satisfaction, let him be deprived of all power and honor, and let him know that he has rendered himself guilty in the sight of God; let him be cut off from the communion of the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and at the final judgment may he suffer severe punishment. On the Other hand, may the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon all those who respect the rights of this church, and may here below receive the reward of their good deeds and an Eternal recompense from the Sovereign Judge. Amen.”
Though the order was established in1216 a month later, on the 20th January 1217, that the Pope gave the name of Preachers to the order. Having obtained his wish, Dominic must have been impatient to return to his spiritual children; but Lent was at hand and retained in Rome till Easter was over and then returned to his monastery in France.. One day that he was in St.Peter’s, praying for the preservation and extension of his Order, St. Peter and St. Paul appeared, the former presenting him with a staff and the latter with a book, and a voice was heard saying to him, “Go and preach, for thereto have I chosen thee.”At the same moment he beheld his disciples, two by two, spreading throughout the whole world on their mission of evangelization.
The joy experienced on Dominic’s arrival was equaled by the astonishment felt on leaning his determination to disperse his flock at once.The Archbishop of Narbonne, the Bishop of Toulouse, the Count of Montfort, and all Interested in the new undertaking, entreated Dominic not to endanger its success by such a course of action. He thought of the vision in St.. Peter’s and heard the two Apostles saying, “Go and preach.”In addition to these revelations, a keen insight into human character made him withstand the counsel given him by his friends. He believed that the apostle is formed rather by action than by contemplation, and that the surest way to recruit his Order was to plant it fearlessly amid the agitations to which the human intellect is exposed. He deemed sixteen men sufficient for Prouille, Toulouse, Rome, Paris, Bologna, and Spain,he convoked them to the monastery of Prouille for the approaching Feast of the Assumption. Among the numerous multitude that thronged the church of Prouille that day, while some were attracted by the ancient sanctity of the spot and others by curiosity, the Prelates, Knights, and Simon, Count of Montfort, were drawn there by feelings of piety and affection. At that altar, which had so often witnessed his secret tears, Dominic offered the Holy Sacrifice, received the solemn vows of his religious, who until then were only bound by a sentiment of fidelity.The public ceremony ended, Dominic made known to his Friars his intentions regarding their future destination.
Guillaume Claret and Noël de Prouille were to remain at the Monastery of Notre-Dame-de-Prouille, Thomas and Pierre Cellani, at Toulouse; Dominic De Segovia, Suéro Gomez, Miguel de Uzéro, and Pedro de Madrid were allotted to Spain. Paris was to receive the three Frenchmen, Matthieu de France, Bertrand de Garrigue, and Odéric de Normandie; also the Spaniards, consisting of the Blessed Mannès, Miguel de Fabra and Juan de Navarre, and the Englishman Laurence, Dominic reserving only Etienne de Metz as coadjutor in the foundation of the monasteries of Bologna and Rome. Before separating, the Friars elected Matthew de France as Abbot, that is to say, as Superior-General of the Order, under the supreme authority of Dominic. This title, somewhat suggestive of magnificence, on account of the exalted rank held by the heads of the ancient monastic orders, was never again conferred, but was replaced by the lowlier title of Master. The new apostles set out on foot, destitute of money and all human resources, entrusted with the double mission of preaching, and founding monasteries.
St. Dominic his religious just the same way Jesus had commissioned his Apostles and they went throughout the world preaching the Good News of Salvation.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Lord Jesus you gave the universal command to all your disciples to “ go and preach”. Lord grant us the grace to preach the Good News to the whole world both by our words and our life. Edow in us O Lord the apostolic zeal which you did endow in St. Dominic and enflame us by your sprit so that we work with true charity for the salvation of souls and your greater glory. Amen.
Pray for us.
Pray 1. Our Father. 1 Hail Mary. 1 Glory be in honour of St. Dominic
PDM – Ruha Mount Attappadi