instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A hopeful death

Bl. Jordan of Saxony records the death of St. Dominic thusly:
Meanwhile, at Bologna, Master Dominic's pilgrimage on this earth was drawing to a close and he became seriously ill. On his deathbed he summoned twelve of the more prudent brethren and, after exhorting them to be zealous in promoting the Order and persevering in holiness, he warned them against any questionable association with women, especially the young, whose attractions can be a snare for souls not solidly rooted in purity. "Behold," he said, "up to this hour the grace of God has kept my flesh unsullied; yet I confess to not escaping the fault that talks with young women affected my heart more than conversations with those who were older."
[A Spaniard to the end. And a true Christian, appreciative of the physical order yet striving for perfect charity toward all.]
Before his death he also assured his brethren that he would be of more benefit to them after death than in life, for he knew the one to whom he had entrusted the treasure of his labors and fruitful life. As for the rest, he was certain that there was laid up for him a crown of justice which would increase his power to obtain requests the more firmly it rooted him in the Lord's power.
As a result of fever and dysentery, he grew weaker and weaker, until, at last, that pious soul departed from its body and returned to the Lord, Who had given it. In return for a mournful dwelling, he received the eternal consolation of a home in heaven.
His promise to be of more benefit after death than in life is recalled in the processional O Spem Miram:
V. O wonderful hope which you gave to those who wept for you at the hour of your death, promising after your departure to be helpful to your children.
R. Fulfill, father, what you have said and help us by your prayers.
V. You who shone by so many miracles worked on the bodies of the sick, bring us the help of Christ to heal our sick souls.
R. Fulfill, father, what you have said and help us by your prayers.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
R. Fulfill, father, what you have said and help us by your prayers.
V. Blessed Father Dominic, pray for us.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. O God, who did enlighten your Church with the merits and teaching of blessed Dominic, your confessor and our father; grant at his intercession that we may not be wanting in temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.
Go here to listen to the Dominican Nuns of Estavayer-le-Lac sing the Salve Regina and the O Spem Miram (starts about 3:50 in) as they process to Our Lady's altar after Compline.