Novena to St. Dominic-Day Four
From the LIbellus of Bl. Jordan
What He Did for the Poor During a Famine
While he was a student at Palencia, a famine arose and almost all Spain was stricken. Being moved with pity for the poor at the sight of their misery, he resolved at once to put into practice our Lord's counsel and do all he could to relieve the wants of the dying poor. He sold all his belongings, even his books, which he very much needed in that city. Establishing a center for almsgiving, he distributed his goods and gave them to the poor. This example so stirred the souls of his fellow-students and masters in theology that, seeing how stingy their own help had been in comparison with this young man's liberality, they began to give alms in greater abundance.
How He was Called to the Church of Osma
While this man of God was disposing his heart to ascend step by step and make daily progress from virtue before the eyes of men, among whom he shone as the morning star in the midst of a cloud by reason of his innocent life, reports about him reached the Bishop of Osma, who, after carefully verifying all that he heard, summoned Dominic and made him a Canon Regular of his church.
At once he began to shine as a special star among the canons. His humble heart and extraordinary holiness made him an odor of life unto life among them and as sweet-smelling frankincense in summertime. They marvelled at his rapid progress in religious observance and made him subprior, so that, from this pinnacle, he might shine before the eyes of all and influence them by his good example. Now, as a fruitful olive-tree and as a cypress rearing itself on high, he frequented the church day and night. He prayed without ceasing and, making use of the leisure afforded for contemplation, he scarcely ever left the monastery grounds. God gave him the singular gift of weeping for sinners, the wretched, and the afflicted, whose sufferings he felt within his compassionate heart, which poured out its hidden feelings in a shower of tears.
It was his custom to spend his night-watches in prayer and, having shut the door, to pray to the Father in secret. At times during his prayer he betrayed the feelings of his heart with groans and sounds which could not be stifled and could be heard from a distance, His frequent and special prayer to God was for the gift of true charity capable of laboring for and procuring the salvation of men, since he deemed that he would be a true member of Christ only when he could devote himself entirely to winning souls, like the Lord Jesus, the Savior of all men, Who offered Himself completely for our salvation. He loved to read the book called the Conferences of the Fathers, which deals with vices and with all matters of spiritual perfection. The paths of salvation outlined therein he carefully studied and tried to imitate with all the strength of his soul. Along with the help of grace, this book refined the purity of his conscience, intensified the light of his contemplation, and raised him to a high level of perfection.
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray, O God, who enlightened your Church by the virtues and preaching of St. Dominic, your confessor and our father, mercifully grant that by his prayers we may be delivered from present dangers and ever increase in spiritual blessings. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.