Be a Bearer of the Light of Faith!

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He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world (John 1:7-9).

These words from the Prologue of Saint John’s Gospel brilliantly illuminate for all Christians the ministry of John the Baptist. You see, it was John the Baptist who would be a witness to the light, but the light itself is of course none other than Jesus Christ.

The thought of the true light, shining forth into the shadows of the world cannot but stir the human heart! Every person has had the experiencing of groping in the darkness and wishing fervently for a bit of light to guide our steps and stay our hands. Those moments of panic in the blackness or even simply strain in the shadows show us how much we need the light.  In such moments the light of lamps, the glittering stars, a flickering candle or the first rays of the shining sun bring such great relief!

In the supernatural realm we Christians often speak of our faith in Jesus as a light. As Pope Francis writes in his newest encyclical, “Those who believe, see; they see with a light that illumines their entire journey, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets.” Faith sheds light on every aspect of our lives, but in different times and places throughout history this light of Christ has become obscured. Whether by false teaching, lax practice or pure-and-simple unbelief, men and women have succumbed to floundering in the gloom.

In these dark times God—out of His goodness—raises up saints to fortify the believers’ lights of faith which have grown weak and dim. Saint Dominic de Guzman, the founder of the Order of Preachers, was one such saint. Before Dominic’s birth, his mother had a vision that she bore within her one who would set the world on fire, and at his baptism his godmother saw a star shining on his forehead. From his very birth the legends tell us Saint Dominic was called to be a light, not simply any light, but a light bringing forth truth and love—like our Lord Jesus Himself.

Saint Dominic established the Order of Preachers to call back to the practice of the true Catholic faith many who had fallen away. His vision of men living Gospel poverty together in community, given over to the work of preaching the truth for the salvation of souls, became a light for all of medieval Europe. As Pope Honorius III wrote in 1216 when he granted his approval for the Order, “The religious of your Order will be true lights of the world.”

In our own day Pope Francis warns us:

In the absence of light everything becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil, or the road to our destination from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere. There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim.

The Holy Father’s words call us all to become men and women after the great saints, like Saint Dominic.  As the lives of the saints like Dominic show us, zeal for the conversion of sinners and fidelity to the truths of the faith bear much fruit.  May the intercession of Saint Dominic—whose feast we celebrate today—strengthen our faith that we may be fearless bearers of the light of truth and love which Jesus offers to the world!

A Prayer to Saint Dominic, the O Lumen

(sung at the close of each day by Dominicans)

“O Lumen Ecclesiae, Doctor veritatis, Rosa patientiae, Ebur castitatis; Aquam sapientiae, propinasti gratis: Praedicator gratiae, Nos junge beatis.”

“O Light of the Church, Teacher of truth, Rose of patience, Ivory of chastity; freely you dispense the waters of wisdom; Preacher of grace, unite us with the blessed in heaven.”

Brother Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP

About Brother Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP

Bro. Patrick Mary, a Fort Wayne native, joined the Order of Preachers in 2010. After making his simple vows, he was assigned to the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. In addition to pursuing his studies for the priesthood, Brother regularly contributes to Dominicana (A Blog by Dominican Brothers).