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 – and Dominicans have done so ever since.
We all know what it’s like to be going about our day, feeling pretty good about things, and then we hear someone has been talking behind our back.
It’s human to get angry, and we might even plan some little, subtle revenge. But with the eyes of faith, we can see how these reactions are a pretty good sign that our fallen nature might be taking over, and that it’s a good time to remember what Our Lord did in that same kind of situation.
Our Lord was surrounded by enemies who were constantly testing him, and he would have been justified in losing his temper. He was fully human, after all, so their insults would have hurt him just as much as they would us. When his opponents asked him for yet another sign, St. Mark says Our Lord “sighed from the depth of his spirit”. Although clearly frustrated by their persistent unbelief, Our Lord didn’t retaliate. He simply gave them his message and then quietly moved on.
Our Lord was able to master his emotional life. Unlike most of us, who don’t need much to provoke us to pride or defensive anger, Our Lord always chose the way of humility. He knew that he didn’t have to promote himself. He knew that his mission was to do his Father’s will and to make him known. In this way, as in so many other ways, he showed himself to be the “perfect Son.”
But all is not lost for us. Our Lord’s divine strength can become our strength. Because Our Lord experienced all the temptations we face and yet never gave in, we can ask him to bear our aggravation and frustrations. Because he offered the perfect sacrifice on the Cross, we can share in his victorious life. When we embrace godly self-control in our moments of anger, it’s a sure sign that his Spirit is at work in us.