Once upon a time in Rome, Fr. Michael Sweeney and I and our OP host were standing jammed upright in a Roman bus famous for its crowds and its pick-pockets. I had my purse firmly clapsed under my arm and my arms rigidly down at my side when our guide casually nodded his head toward a church that we were passing and said "Oh, and that's where St. Dominic raised the boy from the dead." "Wait!" I squealed inwardly as I desperately tried to turn my wedged body so that I could see what he was referring to but we had passed the spot by before I managed to extract myself.
Another tantalizing almost-brush with resurrection.
Bl Jordan of Saxony, who followed St. Dominic as Master of the Order, wrote a very sober account of the miracle which was witnessed by a number of intelligent Dominicans.
"It happened that, once while he was in Rome, a young man, related to the Lord Cardinal Stephen of Fossa Nuova, was riding recklessly down a steep hill and thrown from his horse. While he was being carried away, it was hard to tell whether he was still alive or dead. As the crowd which had gathered was displaying its grief with wails and lamentations, Master Dominic happened along with Brother Tancred, a good, fervant man and one prior in Rome; in fact, it was he who told me of this incident. Brother Tancred said to him, "Why do you hesitate? Why don't you call on the Lord? Where is your pity for your neighbor, your confidence in God?"
Stirred by these words and inflamed by the fire of his own ardent compassion, he ordered that the young man be brought to a nearby house. There he restored him to life by his prayers and personally led him out of the house in the sight of those who had gathered."
He had expired. That is what I heard from his parents, who lived in the Roman Campagna.)
Wow. A Dominican whose instinctive response to a fatal injury was "Why do you hesitate to pray for life? Where is your pity for your neighbor, your confidence in God?"
That should give us all a jolt on this feastday of St. Dominic. And encouragement to ask this famous intercessor to pray for us.
As Pope Benedict observed today:
"Blessed Jordan of Saxony (who died in 1237), his successor as head of the Order, thus writes: "During the day, no-one was more sociable than he…conversely at night, no one more diligent in keeping vigil in prayer. He devoted his days to others, but the night he gave to God "(P. Filippini, Domenico visto dai suoi contemporanei, Bologna 1982, p 133). In St. Dominic we can see an example of the harmonious integration of contemplation of the divine mysteries and apostolic activity. According to the testimonies of those closest to him, "he always spoke with God or of God."