Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blessed Dominic Barberi

In England & Wales today the Church keeps the Optional Memorial of Blessed Dominic Barberi. Blessed Dominic is best known as the one who received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church.

The Office of Readings contains this excerpt from Pope Paul VI's homily at Dominic's beatification.

He had a great love for England
        The fact which makes us remember Father Dominic is well known and was his principal claim to fame. It is the fact of Newman’s conversion. At Littlemore on the evening of 8 October, 1845, it was Father Dominic who received from that most remarkable spirit his decisive profession of the Catholic Faith.
        Newman later wrote: ‘Father Dominic was a marvellous missioner and a preacher filled with zeal. He had a great part in my own conversion and in that of others. His very look had about it something holy. When his form came within sight, I was moved to the depths in the strangest way. The gaiety and affability of his manner in the midst of all his sanctity was in itself a holy sermon. No wonder that I became his convert and his penitent. He had a great love for England.’
        ‘He had a great love for England.’-This phrase would seem to define this humble but great follower of the gospel of Christ; it seems to sum up the historical current of the sentiments of the Church of Rome, towards that island of high destiny; it seems to give expression to this present spiritual moment of the Apostolic See, which now raises to the glory of the Blessed this generous missionary, whose arms are open wide towards all that is most venerable and most significant in that blessed country’s present portion of its magnificent Christian heritage; and it seems today to rise up from the heart of the Ecumenical Council, being celebrated in this basilica, like a sign of still suffering, but always confident, Catholic brotherhood.
        ‘He had a great love for England.’ Newman’s phrase, if properly meditated upon, means that the love of the pious religious, the Roman missionary, was directed to Newman himself, the promoter and representative of the Oxford movement, which raised so many religious questions, and excited such great spiritual energies; to him who, in full consciousness of his mission — ‘I have a work to do’ — and guided solely by love of the truth and fidelity to Christ, traced an itinerary, the most toilsome, but also the greatest, the most meaningful, the most conclusive, that human thought ever travelled during the last century, indeed one might say during the modern era, to arrive at the fulness of wisdom and of peace.
        And if that phrase was true and salutary for so distinguished a representative of a great people, so high an authority of a time like ours, will it not be still true and salutary today, in heaven, in the hearts of this beloved Beatus, and here below, in the hearts of all those who celebrate his glory, and wish to imitate his example?
More information about Blessed Dominic is available at the Passionists website.

1 comment:

  1. Extraordinary! Here, right in the middle of Vatican II, Paul VI is reiterating the "not Angles but angels" sentiment of Pope Gregory I (590-604), when he says, inter alia: "that island of high destiny".

    As J. Brodrick S.J. has written:
    "The second spring [of English Catholicism] did not begin when Newman was converted nor when the hierarchy was restored. It began on a bleak October day of 1841, when a little Italian priest in comical attire shuffled down a ship's gangway at Folkstone."

    Perhaps to understand the 'third spring'(???) we need to consider the ways of this humble Passionist, Bl. Dominic of the Mother of God. Towards that end, his Lamentation is worthy of contemplation: Lamentation for England


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