Today is the feast of St. Dominic, a contemporary of Francis of Assisi, who – with Francis – has endured in the memory and practice of the religious orders of men and women who have followed in his footsteps since the 12th century. Having met Francis after seeing him as a beggar in a vision, Dominic is credited with the quote, “You are my companion and must walk with me. If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us.” As the Franciscans embrace the ideal of working with the poor, the charism of the Dominicans is preaching. In fact, they are called the Order of Preachers. Dominic began priestly life as a contemplative and would have remained in that structure had he not been called to a preaching crusade against the Albigensian heresy in France. When he realized that the common people were not receptive to the preaching because of the seeming wealth of the retinue (fine horses, best food…) he became an itinerant preacher – not unlike Francis – in order to be a more authentic voice. His message clearly came from his belief of “contemplation in action” as prayer was the foundation and direction of everything he did and how he spoke. His manner of living was captured in the imperative: Speak only of God or with God.
Today seems an appropriate day to observe how much of my time is spent speaking with God, how much is spent speaking of God in word or action and how much of my thoughts or speech falls into neither of those categories.