On the Precious Death of our Holy Patriarch
“I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bride bedecked with her jewels.” Is. 61:10
With what inexpressible joy did Mary enter heaven, assumed body and soul, clothed in the splendor of a Queen. How must she have awaited her departure from this world, knowing that she would be reunited with her Divine Son. St. Dominic, as befits a son of Mary, looked forward with joy to the day when he would join Mary and the saints in their heavenly homeland.
St. Dominic’s life ended on August 6th, 1221, just as he had lived, as an apostle full of zeal and virtue. Returning to Bologna from his travels, ill though he was, he insisted on rising for midnight Matins. Soon, however, his strength left him and he was forced to go to bed, but the cell was that of another friar, as until now Dominic had always taken his little rest on the altar step. The friars brought him up to St. Mary of the Mountain, but soon had to remove him to St. Nicholas again, that he might be buried “under the feet of his brethren.”
St. Dominic, always a kind and provident father, spoke to his friars and comforted them. He promised that he would be of more use to them in heaven than on earth, thus ensuring the care of his Order. St. Dominic then gave his last will and testament to his friars, exhorting them to guard humility, to have charity for the brethren, and to make their treasure in voluntary poverty. Even as he spoke these words, Dominic was a living example of them. His humility was such that he revealed to his friars the grace he received in never sinning against chastity. In his very words to his brethren and the promise of his protection he showed his charity, and in the lack of a cell or even a habit to be buried in he showed his great love of poverty.
When the time came for him to pass from this life, he bid the friars begin the prayers for the dying. As the saints and angels were invoked to come to his aid and bring his soul to heaven, he passed from this life into eternal glory. May we each live as our Father did, living each day entirely for God, and so be prepared to meet him when he comes to call us to heaven. Let us look forward joyfully to that day when we shall go forth from this life to join Mary, St. Dominic, and all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.
Let us honor today the fourth glorious mystery of the Rosary, the Assumption, and let us beg, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and St. Dominic, the grace of final perseverance and a holy death.