Dominic was born in a world of turmoil. There was a war and famine was widespread. The conflict between the Christians and the Moors worsens the suffering conditions of the hungry of food and thirsty of hope. Amidst it all, Dominic learned at a young age about love and sacrifice for others. He had a heart for the poor which led him to do selfless acts. He was so selfless that he would give everything to those who asked for his help. He gave away his money and sold his clothes, furniture and even precious manuscripts to feed the hungry. He struggled to find a cure for the despair of the people in his homeland. Dominic was influenced by his mother who was a very pious woman. She was the one who introduced Jesus and Mary to Dominic. Another was Bishop Diego de Acevedo. He was the bishop of Osma and convinced Dominic to come with him to their parish.
Dominic happily obliged and the two became very close with each other. A few years later, Dominic accompanied Bishop Diego on a diplomatic mission for Alfonso VIII, King of Castile, namely to secure a bride in Denmark for crown prince Ferdinand. There, Dominic and Diego encountered the Cathars, a Christian religious sect with Gnostic and dualistic beliefs, which the Roman Catholic Church deemed heretical. The Cathari skewed Christian doctrines and they profess it to people of dying hopes. The people, having lost their way, believed in what the Cathari said, distancing themselves from the Church. Thus, Dominic’s mission began. He established “The Oder of Preachers” or more popularly known as the Dominican Order.
There were four pillars of the Dominican life and they are (1) prayer, (2) study, (3) community, and (4) preaching. In the movie, prayer was a very important part of the Order. When they were going to eat supper, Dominic was shocked to learn that his brothers had not yet prayed. One of them replied, “But, Father, there is nothing to eat.” He answered them, “Then that is not a reason for us not to pray.” Dominic implied to his brothers that in comfort or in suffering, we must pray. His brothers (followers) were also well educated to prepare them for their preaching outside of the Order. The Order was a community. They prayed together, shared thoughts with each other and respected one another. At times, disputes would arise but they would quickly make amends.
Preaching, in the movie, was seen very clearly. There were many scenes that included preaching of St. Dominic. One is when he was teaching children about the Holy Trinity. Dominican preaching always had its edge from preaching of others. Dominicans, like their founder, St. Dominic de Guzman, preached with love and true service to others. They don’t pamper themselves with material things and led very simple lives. They go from one house to another to preach the Good News. As a young person, I could bring and share the Gospel of Jesus to others by being a good role model. I can show to everyone that living a life that follows God’s will is definitely much better than living life the way you want to. I could also bring and share the Gospel of Jesus through counselling my peers whenever they are in trouble. The movie really moved me and my classmates to tears.
It was very effective in introducing St. Dominic to the young people today. “He deserved it.”, said Fr. Christopher Aytona, OP during The Light behind the Scenes. I, too, think that way. Dominic emerged from being a simple man to establishing his own organization. It was amazing how he founded the Order of Preachers. I think he established the Order because he wanted to share to others what the Lord has given him. Of course, he can’t do it himself so he asked for help. He wanted God’s love to reach others through him. Dominic was a very simple, kind, and gentle person. I learned from the movie that you must not take for granted what you have right now.
You must also not aspire for more than what you have. I remember watching a cartoon about Abraham and Isaac. In the last scene when Abraham was told by God not to kill his son, he was very happy. Isaac then asked his father what they would offer since Isaac was not really going to be sacrificed. Then, they saw a lamb nearby and Abraham with tears in his eyes said, “God always provides.” I remembered that while I was watching the life of St. Dominic. He and Fr. Diego called it, “Divine Providence”. God always provides.
Our life is more than enough to be thankful for. I also learned that helping others require sacrifice. You must be prepared of the consequences that may come but you will never go astray if you put your belief and trust in God. And finally, I learned to love myself. God loves me and He wants me to cherish myself. In Cor. 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have received from God, and that you are not on your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”