Wake Up the World
Medium: Mixed Media (mostly coloured pencil)
“I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!”
St. Dominic Guzman (1170-1221) and St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) were contemporaries; two spiritual giants gifted to the Church at a critical time in her history. In the 13th century, the inroads of heresy, worldliness and corruption among the clergy threatened the Church. In response to the great need for reform, the Holy Spirit raised up Dominic and Francis to fortify and stabilize her. Both saints are said to have appeared in a dream of Pope Innocent III, physically holding up the Church and saving her destruction.
Saints light fires. The Heart of Christ lit a fire in the hearts of Dominic and Francis, a fire that spread, blazing across Europe and beyond through the religious orders they founded. The Dominicans and Franciscans are known as the mendicant orders. Departing from the previously established monastic model, Dominic and Francis revolutionized religious life by bringing the consecrated into the cities. Their spiritual descendants were friars – not monks – who adopted a lifestyle of poverty, traveling and living in urban areas for the sake of evangelization and ministry. By engaging the public with their preaching and Christian example, the mendicants served the evangelization and transformation of culture, waking up and revitalizing the Church in their day.
We too are called to revitalize the Church in our day, and how desperately our culture stands in need of Christian witnesses! As apostles in the 21st century, we can learn much from the holy example of Dominic and Francis. In this image, the Latin words Veritas Salvifica are written on a banner above Dominic. Meaning “salvific truth”, they represent the Dominican charism of winning souls for Heaven through the preaching of the truth, a mission assisted by sacred study. Above Francis, the banner reads Caritas Seraphica, meaning “seraphic love”. This represents the predominant trait of the poor man of Assisi – a love that conformed him to Christ even to the point of being crucified with Him. In the work of evangelization, truth and love are two sides of the same coin. We are called to announce the Gospel with fearless clarity, but also with profound charity – a charity that will allow others to perceive Jesus in our souls, giving view to the face of His Mercy. May the Holy Spirit teach us how to enact the words of St. Paul: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15)
Come Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth and Love, and fill us with Yourself. Inspire in us the devotion to truth You inspired in St. Dominic, a devotion that will free us from fear and human respect, that having the courage to announce the Gospel without compromise, our brothers and sisters may come to know You. Inspire in us the seraphic love You inspired in St. Francis, a love that will teach us to be attentive to the needs and hearts of others, that our words, being seasoned with charity and compassion, may draw others to You and not push them away. Inflame our hearts with Your divine fire, and use us, Lord, to alight your fire in others. Amen.