August 8, 2011

St. Dominic and the Basilica of the Holy Trinity

Today on the Feast of St. Dominic, I went to the Basilica of the Holy Trinity.  Dominicans came to Krakow under the leadership of St. Hyacinth.  He had traveled with his bishop to Rome in the hopes of meeting St. Dominic and convincing him that Poland needed preachers.  Dominic invited him to join his newly formed order and sent him to head the mission in Poland himself.  Dominicans have been ministering at the Basilica ever since.

One of the biggest problems is that there are never enough good preachers.  The Lord relies on preachers to spread our faith.  Yet oftentimes those who try to preach the Gospel fall short of their task.  Noticing such failures could be discouraging.  It can also be a moment of grace, a moment to hear the Lord's invitation for oneself.  The truth is - everyone to whom the Gospel has been entrusted has a responsibility to witness, to share the faith.  When we possess the truth, it sets us free - free to act, to live life to the full.  On this point, the Christian faith is not passive.  It demands our effort.  The truth must be lived.  This is what the Lord invited St. Hyacinth to through St. Dominic -- and the Church of the Holy Trinity is fruit of St. Hyacinth's response to this invitation.

St. Augustine opens his Confessions with questioning how we are to praise God if we do not know Him.  He understands that our deepest happiness, the place where are hearts most rest, is in worshiping the Lord.  But how do we know who the Lord is so that we might worship Him the right way?  St. Augustine answers his own question.  It is through the words of a preacher.  What an awesome responsibility preaching the Gospel is!  What courage it takes!  Yet the Lord has entrusted this great work to us despite the weakness of our intellects and our inability to fully express the magnitude of the gift He has won for us on the Cross.  Thank God there are those who love us enough, who are courageous enough, to spend their lives in study and preaching - because of them we have access to what is most important for the human spirit, the gift of the Gospel of Christ.  Thank God for St. Dominic and all the preachers whose yes to the Lord never became a no, who by God's grace and perseverance never compromised in the task entrusted to their care.