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

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sun-Dogs!

Today the Order of Preachers celebrates the memorial of the Translation of our holy father Saint Dominic. He had been buried in the church of St Nicholas of the Vineyards at Bologna and his brethren "whose simplicity outweighed their prudence" were reluctant to acknowledge the many miracles of healing taking place at his tomb. Finally at the urging of Pope Grefory IX, St Dominic's remains were moved to a marble sepulchre on Pentecost Tuesday in 1233. This marked the beginning of his canonization process and he was declared a saint on 3 July 1234. In 1267, St Dominic's relics were moved to its present tomb in Santo Domingo in Bologna. On the left is the cypress wood coffin in which St Dominic is buried, as mentioned in the story below.

Blessed Jordan of Saxony, Successor of St Dominic, describes the event of the translation of St Dominic's body:

"The bishops approached devoutly, the workers applied their tools, and the stone that had been firmly cemented to the sepulchre was removed. Inside the tomb was the wooden coffin, just as it had been placed there by the venerable Pope Gregory when he was bishop of Ostia. A small opening was visible in the coffin.

As soon as the stone was taken away a wonderful odour poured out from the opening and its fragrance caused astonishment among those present. They were amazed and overcome with wonder at this strange event. Everyone shed tears and feelings of joy, of fear and of hope rose in all hearts...

The body was carried to the marble sepulchre where it was to rest and the perfume encompassed it. This marvellous aroma, which the holy body breathed forth, was evidence to everyone of how much the saint had truly been the aroma of Christ."

In honour of today's Dominican feast, I am privileged to be able to share with you an extract from the poem 'Sun-Dogs' by Michael Symmons Roberts. 'Sun-Dogs' was written for a choral and orchestral work set to music by the noted Scottish composer James Macmillan, a lay Dominican and friend of Blackfriars. He gifted me with a copy of the manuscript of this work a few months ago when he came to stay with us. The musical composition, Sun-Dogs was co-commissioned by the Three Choirs Festival and it will receive its UK Premiere at the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford on 10 August 2006. James Macmillan has dedicated his work to the Order of Preachers and I reproduce the following extract from the poem with his permission:

"Domini canes;
a pair, one white, one black,
guardians of order,
watchdogs,
custodians of luck.

Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark,
the beggars are coming to town!

Like Sirius' twins at the feet of Orion,
other dogs, skin and bone on rope leads, kept their distance,
slept with men in make-shift beds,
men who wondered where these perfect strays had come from,
with such an amber in their eyes,
and coats which, though immaculate in black and white,
became prismatic in the sun, too hot to touch,
as if they ever let you come that close.

Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark,
the beggars are coming to town!"


May St Dominic pray for his sons and daughters and unite us with the blessed in heaven.

4 Comments:

Blogger Moniales said...

Happy Feast day to our brothers!
Yes, isn't it great that we have a cat...sort of! I said to our prioress, "I asked and you would not listen; so I asked my God and He did listen." (quoting St. Scholastica!).

2:16 am  
Anonymous Deborah said...

Happy feast day!

12:46 pm  
Blogger Tom said...

Coincidentally, as I was driving home Wednesday evening, I saw by far the brightest sun dog I have ever seen.

1:43 pm  
Blogger Carmen Helena Téllez said...

Greetings,

For those in the United States,the world-premiere of "Sun-Dogs" by James MacMillan on the poem by Michael Symmons Roberts will take place on August 6--anniversary of the death of St Dominic--by the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. For more information, please visit here:
www.music.indiana.edu/choral

5:49 am  

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