St. Dominic’s mother had a dream that her son would be a dog carrying a flame which would enkindle the world in faith. Indeed, the pun “Domini Cani” (God’s dog) would be a prophecy as her son would indeed witness to much of Europe bringing it back to Christ. It seems that in spite of the Dominican tendency to be expedient in things, St. Dominic knew when to patiently do His work. There is a famous urban legend about St. Dominic sitting at a pub all night with a bartender in order to rescue him from his Albigensian heresy.
It does seem to me that mass evangelization is not very typical of the Catholic experience – not in the way that creates a lasting sustainable faith. Apologetics aside, the faith is attractive to those who witness a happy lifelong expression of living it out. Relationships with those who are faithful connect those without faith and draw them into such a life as this is really anybody’s first experience of Jesus – through those who act in His name.
I became mindful of this idea while watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In one pivotal scene, the apes and humans are able to connect in the midst of a tense distrustful situation through their shared experience of the beauty of interaction with an infant. Such a simple moment of joy and happiness allowed enemies to see dignity in each other (you have to check your speciesism at the theater door for this movie). In a society full of conflict, especially in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, whatever high-level political movements are in the works, the individual experience of making connections on the ground is what will bring peace. May our prayers be joined with the Holy Father’s for Peace on Earth and may the intercession of St. Dominic lead us to follow his example for patience in making individual connections in the most difficult of times.