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  • Sarah Raad

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The things God does for those who believe in Him should make us all embrace His Holy Love…

Saint Dominic icon (Theophilia)

Over the weekend, my children and I watched the 2017 musical biographical film, directed by Michael Gracey, “The Greatest Showman”, for probably the thousandth time. It is a lovely film in which my children have seen many beautiful messages about the life of PJ Barnum. PJ Barnum invented the circus. And in following the story of his life, he makes choices that are both admirable and terrible and learns to value the love of those he loves above the fame and prominence offered by New York society. In the film there is a scene where a theatre critic who dislikes Barnum labels his show a “circus”. He uses the word “circus” as a pejorative – an INSULT… And yet, PJ Barnum embraced that description and took ownership of all the critic was trying to criticise, because he held firm to his beliefs. The rest – as they say – is history…


Yesterday when I walked into Mass with my children – late as usual – I was pleasantly surprised to see the Priest wearing vestments fringed with blue. It is not often that we see blue on the vestments of the priest in the Mass, and so it immediately intrigued me, and prompted me to search out which Marian feast day we were to be celebrating that day.


But yesterday, there was no Marian Feast day.


Yesterday, it was the Feast Day of Saint Louis de Montfort. Saint Louis de Montford who died in the early 18th century, was devoted to Our Blessed Mother and wrote several pivotal works on the Rosary and the various devotions to Our Lady. Saint Louis de Montford is credited with contributing the first works on Marian devotion in the Church. And yet, Saint Louis de Montford was heavily criticised by non-Catholic Christians for being Marian in his devotions. In describing Saint Louis de Montford as Marian, the term was used as a pejorative – an INSULT. Saint Louis de Montford embraced this insult because he clung to his faith that instead of raising Our Blessed Mother to divinity through his work, he was revealing her importance as a mediatrix to direct us to God… The rest – as they say – is history…

Interestingly - or coincidentally, if one still believed in coincidences - on this same Saint’s Feast Day, during Mass yesterday, we heard the first reading where Saint Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, described how the disciples were first described as “Christians”… “For a whole year they met with the church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called CHRISTIANS.” (Acts, 11:24-26, emphasis added).

This is interesting to me, this description of the disciples as “Christians”, because not only is this reference in the Acts of the Apostles is the first time that the word “Christians” was used, but because here the description was a pejorative – an INSULT. In describing these disciples as Christians, the intention of their detractors was to mock their zealous preaching about Christ. The disciples embraced this pejorative as the truth… The rest – as they say – is history…


And then of course there is Saint Dominic… Who could ever forget the late 12th century Saint Dominic? Saint Dominic’s name comes from the Latin “Domini canes” meaning, “Dog of the Lord”. It is for this reason that we usually see Saint Dominic depicted with a dog in artwork. Blessed Jane of Aza was the mother of Saint Dominic, while pregnant with her son, dreamed of a dog who carried a torch in its mouth and used the flame of the torch to set fire to the world. She later asked a priest what that dream of hers could mean and he told her that her child would be a great preacher who would illuminate the world with his words.


Saint Dominic, who was called as dog as a pejorative – an INSULT, embraced that insult in his work with his friars and reformed the historically corrupt medieval clergy through his order of poor friars. His work and his friars reignited the flame of love for Christ and worship in the Catholic Church. His friars are called the “Dominicans” or “Dogs of the Lord”... And the rest – as they say – is history…


If only God would turn me into his mere dog… I would have such joy in that!


For I have only to look at what God does for His DOGS to know that the joys of everlasting life could be mine, if only I could humble myself to become a mere DOG…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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