Today we honour the memory of two Dominican Nuns – Blessed Diana and Blessed Cecilia – both founding members of Saint Agnes’ Priory in Bologna – and both knew Saint Dominic personally.
Blessed Cecilia is responsible for relating nearly everything known about the personal appearance and character of Saint Dominic. Blessed Diana corresponded with Blessed Jordan of Saxony and she kept all his letters which tell us about the early days of the Order and the preaching missions of the friars. Both these early Dominicans give us an invaluable insight into the life of Saint Dominic and the beginnings of the Order.
Both nuns were beatified in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII.
Is anything in life more important than the call to love God and our neighbour? The simple answer is no. Our Lord makes that abundantly clear in today’s gospel. Love is the heart and foundation of our lives as disciples. In fact, it is God’s call to all people. And that’s why Our Lord’s words about love found a home in the scribe’s heart. Our Lord could see that because he grasped the centrality of love in God’s plan, this man was judged to be very close to the kingdom of God.
As disciples of Christ, we have heard Our Lord’s command to love many times. So how are we doing? To what degree are we loving in deed and in truth and not just talking about it? True love costs, and at times it is very difficult to love. So, Our Lord wants to enlarge our hearts; the Holy Spirit can help us love beyond our limited human capacity.
But today’s gospel presents us with another question: how do we view those who are not followers of Christ and yet are making serious attempts to love? Do we look on them with compassion and even admiration, even if they may not be committed Christians? Those who don’t share our beliefs about God, even those who have some very mistaken ideas of God, may nevertheless find a place in their hearts for Our Lord’s teaching. Like the scribe, they may not be far from the kingdom of God.
Loving God and loving others are the most important things we can do. As St. John of the Cross once said, “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.” Our Lord wants our lives to be marked by a love that seeks the good of other people and is willing to take a humble position of service. Day after day, even in the convent, Our Lord gives us opportunities to love, along with the grace to seize those opportunities. As we love with his love, we have no idea of the ways we may influence the people around us. Who knows? Maybe our efforts to love will spur someone else to take steps that will bring them more fully into God’s kingdom. And so, let us pray for everyone who is striving to love in deed and in truth.