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Spiritual Semblance of Saint Dominic


Saint Dominic. Fra Angelico. Saint Marc convent in Florence, Italy

There was a very constant equality of spirit in him, unless he was moved by compassion and mercy. And as the cheerful heart gladdens the countenance, the serene balance of the inner man appeared outward in the manifestation of his goodness and in the placidity of his face. He held such firmness of mind in those things which he reasonably understood must be carried out in conformity with the will of God, that he seldom or never agreed to change a decision made after mature deliberation. The testimony of his good conscience, as it is said, always shone in the serene placidity of his countenance, without the light of his face paling.



For all this, the love of all was easily attracted; as soon as they saw him, he entered his heart without difficulty. Wherever he was, travelling with his companions, in some house with the innkeeper and other family, among the noble people, princes and prelates, edifying words came to him in abundance and he multiplied the examples with which he guided the minds of his listeners to the love of Christ and to the contempt of the world. In his speaking and acting, he always showed himself to be an evangelical man. During the day no one was more affable with the friars or fellow travelers; no one was more joyful.


During the night, no one else persevered in keeping vigil in prayer. At night he would stop in tears, and in the morning, he would be filled with joy. He consecrated the day to his neighbor, and the night to the Lord, convinced as he was that the Lord had sent his mercy during the day and his song at night. He wept abundantly and often, and tears were for him his bread day and night. By day, especially when he celebrated, frequently or daily, the solemn mass; by night, when he watched more than anyone else in constant watches.

He had the habit of staying very often in the Churches, to the point that it hardly or very rarely seems that he had a certain bed to rest on. He prayed at night and stayed awake as long as he could tear off his fragile body. When, at last, fatigue came, and his spirit was relaxed, reclaimed by the need to sleep, he rested a little before the alter, or anywhere else, and he also rested his head on a stone, after the example of the patriarch Jacob. Again, he returned to the vigil and resumed his fervent prayer.

He accommodated all men in his abyss of charity; as he loved all, so he was loved of all. He made his own the motto of rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. Flooded as he was with piety, he lavished himself on his neighbor and on compassion for the needy. Another trait was very pleasing to all: that of advancing along a path of simplicity, without ever showing any trace of duplicity or fiction, both in words and in deeds.

A true lover of poverty wore cheap dresses. His moderation in food and drink was very great; he avoided the exquisite and was content willingly with a simple meal. He had a firm dominion over his body. He drank the wine so mixed with water that, while satisfying his bodily need, it never weakened his delicate and fine spirit.


Blessed Jordan of Saxony

Origins of the Order of Preachers, p.117-119