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“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples.” Luke 2:30-31
Simeon rejoiced to meet his Lord, a tiny child brought to the Temple in the arms of His Mother. He announced with joy that salvation had come to all people – both Jew and Gentile alike.
St. Dominic, too, saw this salvation. Just as Simeon took the child in his arms, St. Dominic held the very price of our salvation each day in the Mass. Dominic’s eyes beheld the salvation of the world, veiled in the accidents of bread and wine. So deeply was this truth impressed upon Dominic that his desire was to bring all souls to know and love the Savior, that they might be happy with Him forever in heaven. Dominic’s whole apostolic life was for this one work – to bring souls to God.
So great was St. Dominic’s zeal for souls that he had a great love for all sinners. We pray in his Office, “Dominic often exclaimed, ‘Lord, have mercy on your people. What will become of sinners?’” Dominic knew that sinners needed grace and strength to turn from their sins and to embrace the life of God. As they were too weak to obtain it themselves, Dominic begged God on their behalf. Nightly he took the discipline for sinners and his prayers for them were always accompanied by tears.
When a soul was at stake Dominic thought nothing of himself. When travelling with Bishop Diego before the foundation of the Order, he stayed up all night in Toulouse talking to an Albigensian innkeeper. Through his prayer and perseverance, the man converted.
Perhaps nothing can sum up the Dominican charism better than zeal for souls. Each follower of St. Dominic must desire heaven for herself, but also for every soul she meets, indeed, for every soul on earth. How are we to follow our Father on this point? As Dominic did, we must give primacy to prayer. Only when we are faithful in prayer can we draw other souls to God. Dominic made Christ present to all he met. May we, his daughters, bring Christ to others as Mary did. May Mary, the refuge of sinners, pray for us that we may draw all the souls we meet to her loving heart and to Christ her Son.
Let us honor today the fourth joyful mystery of the Rosary, the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, and let us beg, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and St. Dominic, an ardent zeal for the salvation of souls.
Photo courtesy of Fr. Lawerence Lew, O.P.