On the Contempt which our Blessed Father had for all Earthly Things
“And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
Mary accepted the poverty and plainness of the manger and the sumptuous gifts of the Magi without being unsettled by either. Although living in the world, she, most truly of any human person, was not of it.
St. Dominic, whose life followed the pattern of his heavenly Lady and Mother, also walked in this earthly detachment. Friends with great persons, such as Count Simon de Montfort and Cardinal Ugolino, he was more at home in the poverty of his convent. He had no desire for wealth and titles in this life, refusing the episcopate more than once. He desired only to labor for God and to bring souls to him by living a life of apostolic poverty.
St. Dominic took as his own the words of St. Paul: “May I never boast except in the cross of Our Lord.” He knew that all earthly things – material goods, fame, and honor – were passing away and that charity and all the virtues were those things that mattered in the world. He did not seek credit for his work, but sought to give all glory to God. Laboring for souls in France, he preferred to live in Carcassonne because he was disliked more there than in Toulouse.
What must we learn from our Blessed Father of this virtue? We may not choose to live where we are hated, and perhaps we cannot flee from office or honor. Yet the interior disposition of our Holy Father must be present. Our hearts must be set on that treasure which neither moth nor rust may destroy. Each day we must ask our Holy Father’s aid, that we may desire only that which will bring us and all souls to heaven, and that we may leave all earthly things behind us.
Let us honor today the third joyful mystery of the Rosary, the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and let us beg, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and St. Dominic, the grace to set our hearts on true riches.
Photo Courtesy of Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.