The student brothers are on retreat the week of August 11-15. Rather than leave the blog dormant, we offer you reflections by and about various Dominican saints for your meditation. Regular blogging will resume on August 18. In the meantime, please remember us in your prayers and be assured of our prayers for you.
From a Letter of Saint Catherine de’ Ricci, written on Palm Sunday, April 18, 1554
Rivalry has a place as a good. It is not envy, as if someone were to keep his neighbor from the good, lest that person gets there first. Holy rivalry is a thirst for the heavenly spring to which we must hasten with great vigor. We must strive to advance without an obstacle in anyone’s way. If this rivalry were in Christian hearts, how many people would come to that desired reward, which now only a few people are able to reach. My dearest children, let us so strive that we may run and obtain it. In this contest you will not be considered indifferent. The thief crucified with Jesus, though he was unprepared, was not judged to be unhappy, but rather happy. Does he not seem to you to have struggled far better than that great crowd of holy fathers who waited for their redemption for ages? For the thief, in an instant, ran swiftly to beat all the others and was worthy to be the first one at the victory, which he took away from none of those who were called to it.
We live at a time in which running and taking a stand is more than we are used to doing. Considering the greatness of the mystery of our redemption presented to us in these days, how much more should we stand firm and persevere!
We see the mercy that overcomes justice is made the mediator with the eternal Father. His immortal gift is that he sent his only Son to take on human flesh for the salvation of our souls. God reaches down from heaven to earth, and he whom the heavens are unable to contain is confined in the Virgin’s womb. By taking our human nature, he who is immortal and unable to suffer became mortal and capable of suffering. He who is divine became man. He who is the wisest of all became like a fool in the sight of all. The Lord whom angels serve became our servant.
What sort of mind, when considering these things, does not marvel that all of this was done so that human nature might pay the debt owed to the Divine Being? Our nature was unable to pay the debt and was unable to open the gate of heaven which disobedience had shut. Therefore, the Savior came, rich with such treasure, ready and able to pay off the debt for us and to restore us as heirs of the heavenly estate. This consideration ought to temper us in all of our activities, and keep us from those activities that are earthly and futile.
It is necessary that we run this course, inspire by the example of the great love of the Son of God for his creatures. He ran his race swiftly with our nature to endure the passion.
We must run this race, and we must push ahead with strength toward that great open sea by which we are washed and cleansed. He did all this for our sake. He signed our foreheads with his sacred blood, so that we may approach the eternal Father with this sign and tell him that his only-begotten Son payed our debt. We have competed and found the red and ruddy trophy, which is Jesus on the Cross, sprinkled with blood and deathly pale in the cause of love.
Image: Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., The Fountain of Grace