Reflection on St. Dominic
by Rev. Andrew Arnold Lambing, 1892
Our divine Saviour foretold to His Apostles that they and their followers should be hated by all men for His name’s sake; that they were to meet with persecution because they were not of the world, as He was not of the world. But the Church was soon to discover that her enemies were not always to be of the same character, nor were they to wage war against her with the same weapons. Extraordinary trials were to be encountered at intervals, which were to be a test of the constancy, not only of her ordinary children, but also of the elect. She also learned that He Who permitted these trials provided also a remedy, as her history in all ages amply testifies. An Arius was to have his Athanasius, an Abelard his Bernard, a Luther his Ignatius, and so of her other enemies. But we are now concerned with the Albigenses, who rose in the southeast of France in the eleventh century, and devastated the Church at the same time that they defied the civil power. But no sooner was His flock threatened than the Good Shepherd came to its relief.
The religious power to suppress the outbreak of these heretics, St. Dominic, entered the field against them with that burning zeal with which only a saint can be animated for the conversion of sinners. He employed his sanctity and eloquence in endeavoring to stem the tide of evil that had been set in motion by the Albigenses ; but his efforts, though heroic, were of comparatively little avail. At length he ventured to complain to the holy Mother of God, for whom he entertained the tenderest devotion, and to ask her to instruct him in the way he could labor most successfully for the conversion of those misguided souls for whom her divine Son had laid down His life. His prayer was acceptable, and Mary revealed to him the devotion of the holy Rosary. He was told to give his time more to the propagation of this devotion than to preaching, and greater success would attend his efforts. This revelation took place about the year 1206, but the precise date cannot be ascertained.
From the beginning the devotion of the holy Rosary became very popular with the faithful, and pontiffs and prelates were loud in its praises. And first we have the words of the ever blessed Mother of God to St. Dominic: “Preach the Rosary, which is a shield against the shafts of the enemy, the rampart of the Church of God, and the Book of Life. Exhort everyone to be devout to the Rosary, and thou shalt produce wonderful fruit in souls.” Says Pope Leo X.: “The Rosary has been established against the dangers which threaten the world.” St. Pius V.: “By the Rosary the darkness of heresy has been dispelled, and the light of the Catholic faith shines out in all its brilliancy.” Clement VII.: “The devotion of the Rosary is the salvation of Christians.” Adriain VI.: “The Rosary scourges the devil.” Sixtus V.: “The Rosary has been established by St. Dominic, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, for the utility of the Catholic religion.” Gregory XVI.: “The Rosary is a wonderful instrument for the destruction of sin, the recovery of God’s grace, and the advance of His glory.”