I’ll admit to having great delight that under the revised liturgical calendar the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven happens to be the octave of the feast of my favourite and patron saint, Dominic de Guzman! While I realise that technically the Assumption is the much more important feast day, with its own octave culminating in the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22, well, that just doubles the fun! The Assumption of Mary and her Queenship are, after all, the last two mysteries of the Holy Rosary, which she commissioned St. Dominic to preach throughout Europe during the 13th century in order to overcome the heresies rampant in that day! Since my own devotion to St. Dominic began as a result of my great devotion to the Rosary, well! Imagine my delight when I learned that August just tied things up with a neat little bow—dedicated, like the month of August as a whole, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Our Protestant brothers and sisters are often troubled by our filial displays of affection to Our Mother. They think, quite wrongly, that such honour detracts from Jesus and is tantamount to idolatry! It seems almost silly to suggest that if a person complimented a mother on the good upbringing, the success, and the refined manners of her children, that she would be insulted that her children were being praised instead of her! She naturally would be very proud of her children, and at the same time receive the compliment that had just been paid to her regarding how well she had raised them. In the same way, our devotion to Mary does not—can not—detract from our adoration of Christ, for whatever love and honour we give to Mary, we give precisely because of who Jesus made her to be! Catholics love Mary because they love Jesus, or not at all.
Nowhere is this more true than in the life of St. Dominic, whose personal motto was to speak always to God or about God! He would forgo sleep to stay up all night in the church before Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, praying for the conversion of sinners. He would weep tears of joy during Mass as he consecrated and elevated the Eucharistic Host. He would spend hours in meditation and contemplation of Our Lord’s suffering and death on the Cross. It was out of his great, unquenchable love for Jesus, that his love of Jesus’ Mother sprung. The Rosary which he preached is itself a series of meditations on the Gospel, on the life of Jesus, as reflected through her loving eyes—for who better to teach us about the life of Jesus than the one who followed Him so closely, from the moment of His conception to the very foot of the Cross and beyond? Who knows the Son more intimately than the Mother who gave Him flesh? Mary doesn’t compete with Jesus—she leads us more completely to Him!
St. Dominic’s name literally means, “belonging to the Lord.” Through his own life of penance and preaching, and the propagation of the Rosary, he shows us what belonging to the Lord really entails. He learned it by watching his Mother, as we all should, for it was Mary herself who best taught us how to belong to her Son: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).