Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest

“Is it through Moses alone that the LORD speaks? Does he not speak through us also?” (Nm 12:2) The question of Aaron and Miriam is a question which arises in the hearts of anyone who becomes dissatisfied with, or challenged by, someone in a position of authority or responsibility. After wandering through the desert, after being implicated in the idolatry of the golden calf, it is understandable that they would be worn out and jealous of the one who had pointed out their faults. Sometimes we question our leaders, particularly in the Church, because they challenge us. At other times, they are like St. Peter in the Gospel today, both over-confident and weak. Presuming that he has sufficient faith, Peter climbs out of the boat onto the sea. Allowing fear to distract him from his focus on Christ, he then begins to fall into the water. Sometimes we question our leaders because they have noticeable faults.

God’s Providence does not preclude the members of the Church from encouraging one another to examine their intentions and actions to see if they conform to God’s ways. On the contrary, the Spirit often guides us to do so. However, we should always see if the criticism we offer to others really comes from God or not. Aaron and Miriam did not critique Moses because they were led to do so by the Lord. Rather, they allowed fatigue and bruised pride to blind them to how the Lord was already at work in their brother. Jesus does not condemn Peter to the waves simply because his faith is not strong enough yet. Rather, He reaches out to Peter and lifts him up.

St. Dominic (d. 1221) saw scandalous living by certain bishops and priests of his day. He also saw the scandalous division caused by the Albigensian schismatics who sought to ‘purify’ the Church by merely disowning hierarchy altogether. The Lord worked beautifully in St. Dominic by leading him to lead a life of poverty as an example to Church leaders, and to work ceaselessly for unity between all the members of the Church as an example to the Albigensians. Let us trust that the Lord is already at work in the shepherds He gives us, and when we notice weaknesses in them, let us cooperate with our Provident God in helping our brothers rather than condemning them.

August 8th, 2017