‘We remember St Dominic, and his order, in the first instance, for the intellectual protest which they opposed to that sinister outbreak of Oriental philosophy in the heart of Western Christendom. Heresies, after all, have their place in the elucidation of religious truth. The fine flower of Christian scholarship is fertilised, you may say, by the decaying corpse of false doctrine. Or perhaps you may say with greater accuracy that Christian theology has at all times been a reaction to the assaults of heresy, just as a living organism will develop a protective shell there, where a hostile stimulus from without has made itself felt. When the germs of the Manichean heresy sought to find a lodgement in the healthy body of Christendom, the reaction of that healthy body was the great Dominican tradition of learning. It developed, we may well believe, beyond the Saint's own hopes. Almost at the moment of his death another Saint was being born to carry on his work; St Thomas, destined like Elisesus to have a double portion of his Master's spirit. Who shall say what we owe to that Providential impetus which the Manichean peril gave to Christian thought? Just as a healthy body may gain immunity from a disease by being inoculated with a mild form of it, so Christian thought was immunised against the false doctrines which threatened to destroy it, three centuries later, by its inoculation with the dying germ of Orientalism which it had encountered, and triumphed over, at Toulouse.
...We expect of you that to-day, as seven hundred years ago, you should leaven human thought, by justifying the ways of God to men; by asserting the truth of our Lord’s Incarnation, and vindicating the honour of his Blessed Mother. We expect of you also that to-day, as seven hundred years ago, you should leaven human society, by showing us in your own lives, and in the lives of that great Third Order which derives its inspiration from you, the grand simplicity of former times. So will men learn to find, in the Catholic Church, the key to their disillusionment and the remedy for their despairs; learning will not do that, argument will not do that. May the prayers of your holy patron, raised so long ago by an infallible oracle to the altars of the Church, win such grace for you and for us; may the bewildered minds of our non-Catholic fellow-countrymen be led back, more and more, through the Dominicans to Dominic, and through Dominic to Christ’.
from a sermon preached at St Dominic's, Haverstock Hill, 1934, by Mgr Ronald Knox, 1888-1957
Almighty God, whose Priest Dominic grew in the knowledge of thy truth, and formed an order of preachers to proclaim the faith of Christ: by thy grace, grant to all thy people a love for thy word and a longing to share the Gospel; that the whole world may be filled with the knowledge of thee and of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon