Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

St Rose and the Cross

Depicted here is an ivory statue of St Rose of Lima (1586 - 1617), clad in a heavily-embroidered habit of the Third Order of St Dominic and surrounded by roses. The statue forms part of the astounding La Naval Procession which takes place every October in Quezon City, the Philippines and is undertaken by the Dominicans in that country.

Today, the Church and the Order of Preachers rejoices in St Rose, the first saint of the American continent, the flower of the Andes, patroness of South America and the Philippines. Lima must have been a very blessed city, for among her friends and contemporaries were the other Dominicans, St Martin de Porres, who is renowned for extraordinary humility and charity and also Blessed Juan de Marcias. To this day, their sanctity still pervades Lima and brings fame to Peru. St Rose was, a model of penitence, prayer and simplicity and upheld that great Dominican saint, Catherine of Siena as her example. St Rose was also renown as a mystic; in ecstasy, she heard the Lord saying, "Rose of my heart, be thou my spouse."

St Rose had a keen appreciation of the value of suffering in life, because she understood that without the agony of the Cross, there was no Resurrection and glory. As such she undertook a life of great penance and severe mortification. It is likely that she drew her inspiration from St Dominic himself who is known for his love of penance. Lest anyone think that penance and mortification leads to a glum and gloomy disposition, one should recall that St Dominic is known for his joy, as is St Rose. The following story from the life of St Dominic is illustrative of the understanding of Christian penance and mortification, which is to express sorrow for one's sins and to habituate a detachment from sin.

"On one occasion, when on their way to debate with heretics, St. Dominic and his companions, including the bishop of the place, walked barefooted at the saint's suggestion. Losing their way, they asked directions from a native, an Albigensian, who maliciously led them through a thicket where their legs and feet were severly torn by thorns. Then Dominic encouraged his companions: 'Let us hope in the Lord, for the victory shall be ours; already our sins are washed away in blood.' Often he took off his shoes when traveling to endure the penance of the stony roads. He was constantly alert to benefit spiritually by unexpected mortifications. When he stubbed his toes against the stones, was poorly served at meals, was scoffed at and mistreated by the Albigenses, his only answer was, 'It is a penance.'"

We could all benefit from such an attitude - I know I can! - and rather than complain at minor inconveniences, rejoice in a chance to grow in grace and holiness. I can think of so many occasions when I could bear with trials and irritations more patiently, indeed more graciously. Alas, all too often and too quickly, I open my mouth and utter words of complaint and ingratitude! I moan about the weather, the food, and bristle with indignation when my ego is wounded. While I would not go so far as St Rose as to welcome and embrace sufferings (yet), I could begin by bearing with suffering, hurt and inconvenience with more patience and humility, for the love of Christ. So, learning from St Dominic and St Rose of Lima, let us embark in a greater appreciation of penance in our lives and together with St Rose, affirm: "Without the Cross, there is no road to heaven".

I ask the intercession of St Rose of Lima in this path of the Cross, for the Dominicans in Peru, whom I was privileged to meet last year at the IDYM Gathering, and for the intention I stated yesterday...


Blogger Tom said...

As a minor aside, St. Juan Macias was canonized in 1975.

3:00 pm  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

Tom, thanks for that. I actually was aware, after all I named my scholarship fund in the Philippines the SAN Juan de Macias Fund but I made a slip there. I was going to change it later when I got on line, but you're too quick for me! :)

4:02 pm  

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