Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Dominican charism

The Dominicans really are the "lights" of the Church. Think about it: Saint Albert the Great, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Saint Catherine of Siena, among others, were all Dominicans. The intellectual wattage and spiritual luminosity hardly gets brighter than that among us mortal men. It always amazes me to hear what Jesus said to Catherine, as reported in her Dialogue:
With this light that is given to the eye of the intellect, Thomas Aquinas saw Me, wherefore he acquired the light of much science; also Augustine, Jerome, and the doctors and My saints. They were illuminated by My Truth to know and understand My Truth in darkness. By My Truth I mean the Holy Scripture, which seemed dark because it was not understood,; not through any defect of the Scriptures, but of them who heard them, and did not understand them.

If you turn to Augustine, and to the glorious Thomas and Jerome, and the others, you will see how much light they have thrown over this spouse, [the Holy Catholic Church] extirpating error, like lamps placed upon the candelabra, with true and perfect humility....

Look at My glorious Thomas, who gazed with the gentle eye of his intellect at My Truth, whereby he acquired supernatural light and science infused by grace, for he obtained it rather by means of prayer than by human study. He was a brilliant light, illuminating his order and the mystical body of the Holy Church, dissipating the clouds of heresy.
Apart from the fact that countless popes have recommended him for over 700 years, it seems to me that Saint Catherine's encomium goes a long way towards explaining why the Church grants Saint Thomas such a privileged place in the teaching of sacred theology.

... Saint Dominic saw that without sustained and serious use of the human intellect, guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the world's rulers and rustics alike would fall prey again and again to charlatans, hooligans, heretics, bad poets, and an assortment of demonic forces.

Peter Kwasniewski, "The Source and Summit of the Christian Life: What the Schools Can Teach Us About the Mass," Latin Mass magazine (Christmas, 2012), p. 8.

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