Today, Dominicans throughout the world will celebrate on the feast of our founder, Saint Dominic de Guzman. Eight hundred years ago the first foundation of nuns in the south of France was established - the friars were founded ten years later. As a preparation for the 800th anniversary of the founding of the friars, the Order has been putting a strong emphasis on the various facets of the life of Dominic before us as a means to celebrating this milestone in the history of the Order.
Many who consider the Dominican vocation often enquire about Saint Dominic's life and what he is best known for. There are many answers to these questions but it appears to me that the best answer that we as Dominicans can give about our founder is that he was a man of the Gospel. His immediate successor, Blessed Jordan of Saxony said of him that "....everywhere he was seen as a man of the Gospel (vir evangelicus)." So it is a very important and dominant characteristic of Saint Dominic's life. When he set about writing the constitutions of the Order, Dominic described that same attitude of his brothers who were also expected to be "men of the Gospel following in the footsteps of their Saviour." It was this insistence on the preaching of the word of God that gave the Dominican Order the mandate to us the Gospel as a means for preaching and the salvation of souls.
Anyone considering taking up the challenge to live the Dominican form of life must look to Dominic's love of the Gospel as the starting point for their discernment. On this day, our earnest prayer is that this challenge will continue to be a fruitful one. Saint Dominic, pray for us.