Saint Dominic was born in 1000 in Cañas, Navarre, Spain. He was born a peasant, and as a youth worked as a shepherd until he entered the Benedictine monastery in Navarre. When Dominic refused to hand over the monastery lands at the King of Navarre’s demands, he was forced to leave the house with two other monks.
He fled to Old Castile and was welcomed by the king. He then entered the monastery of San Sebastian in Silos, an almost dilapidated abbey with a mediocre physical and spiritual regimen.
Within very little time, Dominic, who had been elected abbot, renewed the spirit of the monastery and rebuilt it’s structure, it’s finances, and it’s works of charity. Dominic was known for miracles of healing, which he obtained through prayer and for his work of ransoming Christian prisoners from the moors.
He died on December 10, 1073 in Silos, Spain.
Think of a time when you received news too far beyond your understanding or belief. Good news or bad, it doesn’t matter. Was disbelief part of your response? No way. Couldn’t be. Seriously? If so, you are in good company. This was Mary’s response. At the Annunciation she was much perplexed, and she pondered. She offers us a great example of how we can welcome our own bewilderment. Ponder. Pause. Question. And this is only what we hear in the text itself, what she did on the outside. Imagine what might have been swirling around in her heart and in her head. Fear? Shame? Judgment? I wonder how long it took to go from perplexed to yes. We know after her “yes” she went, in haste, to her kinswoman Elizabeth for confirmation. If (as we say we believe) the Word of God is living and active in our midst, what can Mary’s response to God’s invitation offer us and our moments of pondering and questioning? Responding in faith to life’s challenges and invitations calls us to be counter-cultural. In times of potential division and challenge, I pray for the wisdom to be like Mary – to take time to ponder, pause and pray my way to an answer. Our tradition calls it contemplation. I call it invaluable. From throughout the Scriptures, we have God’s whole-hearted promise of fidelity.