Today we honour the memory of Blessed Reginald an early Dominican and friend of Saint Dominic. He was a powerful preacher and inspired many novices to join the Order in Bologna. Dominican tradition tells us that Our Lady appeared to him in a vision and presented him with a black and white habit which members of the Order were to wear.
The authors of the Book of Genesis tell us how God creates man from the soil and how he creates everything else for his enjoyment. And yet something is missing. A solitary human being is incomplete, and even the most special pet cannot make up for it. And so God takes a piece of the man’s own flesh and creates a companion who complements him perfectly.
When he is presented with God’s handiwork, Adam is awe-struck. He immediately recognizes that this creature is able to fill the void he has been feeling. He recognizes Eve as “flesh of his flesh” and yet she is quite different from him. As every husband and wife will confirm; that difference can be mystifying and frustrating at times. But the love they experience for each other tells them that given time and patience, they can grow to understand each other more, and their love can grow deeper.
While the first reading has much to teach us about the joys and blessings of marriage, it tells us just as much about the joys and blessings of friendship and even living together in the religious life.
We should treasure our friendships, especially among the people with whom we share our lives. The fact that we have come to this place and that we are all different and unique is part of the beauty of relationships. If we were all the same – products of the same mould – then religious life and the world at large would be very uninteresting. God sends people into our lives whose strengths complement our weaknesses. He gives us friends and companions who help us stay honest with ourselves so that we don’t get caught in a trap of self-congratulation. The moment we let our differences overshadow our love and care for each other is the moment we need to change our way of thinking and remind ourselves of the gift that these people are to us.
May we always let our love for each other cover the flaws we think we see in them.