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Written by Fr. Joseph Ellul OP

Translated by Fr. Dominic Scerri OP

As we have already seen, this continuous dialogue with Christ was strengthened by the Word of God, mostly by means of the Gospel according to St Matthew and the Letters of St Paul.  He always carried them with him and knew them by heart, not to repeat the content word for word, but to know more the presence of God.  It’s not for nothing that Blessed Angelico, in the picture  of Christ scorned, has Saint Dominic sitting down contemplating the open book of Scripture he has on his lap.  And the well known exegete fr Marie-Joseph Lagrange used to consider the Ecole Biblique which himself established as a centre for the study of Scripture purposely a house of prayer.  He believed in a perfect harmony in the movement from his cell to the choir stalls.  He was delighted to hear the Gospel sung by the deacon after incensing the book.  He used to say that, in this way, the words declared from the lectern used to pierce his soul as he met them in a scientific article (1).


Scripture, in Saint Dominic’s time, used to be called Sacra Pagina, the sacred page.  In it, he could perceive “the breadth and the length, the height and the depth (of the mystery of) the love of Christ” as we find written in the Letter to the Ephesians. (2)  In the words of Bro Bonaventure of Verona, this saint “always used to discuss, speak or read about God while travelling” (3)


His familiarity with the Gospel urged him to befriend all who were mentioned in it.  Because of this, Blessed Jordan rightly so called him “an evangelical man”(4).  When he was a subprior of the chapter of canons at Osma, he saw in this community a mirror of the apostles’ community gathered around Jesus its Master.


He wanted the Brother Preachers, like the Apostles before them, to dedicate themselves “to prayer and to the service of the Word” (5).  By means of these two elements they had to intercede for the world.




1. See Bernard Montagnes, Les Pere Lagrange, Les Editions du Cerf, Paris 1995, p.57.

2. Eph 3:18b.

3. Witness of Bro Bonaventure of Verona, Process of the Canonisation at Bologna, no 3.

4. Belssed Jordan of Saxony, op. cit., no.104.

5. Acts 6:4.

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