He announced the good news;
the hand of the Lord was with him.
From the website of the Irish Dominicans:
Blessed Jordan was born in Saxony into the family of the Counts of Eberstein. While a student in Paris, he met St Dominic but did not immediately enter the Order of Preachers.
When Blessed Reginald of Orléans arrived in Paris in 1220 and caused many students of the university of Paris to enter the Order, Blessed Jordan was among those who received the habit on Ash Wednesday.
He was subsequently appointed first provincial of the province of Lombardy, and was later elected to replace St Dominic as Master General. It is said that his preaching caused over one thousand men to join the Order.
He was also author of the Libellus de principiis Ordinis Praedicatorum (Booklet on the beginnings of the Order of Preachers). This text offers the first history of the foundation of the Order as well as the first life of St Dominic. The now traditional Dominican practice of singing the antiphon “Salve Regina” after Compline each night was established by Blessed Jordan at Bologna.
He died in a shipwreck near Syria in 1237 while returning from Palestine where he had visited priories of the Order. His body was recovered and was buried in Akko, in present day Israel. He was beatified in 1825 and his feast is observed on 13th February.
Again today the Office of Readings has us reflect on Blessed Jordan’s written description of the beginnings of the Order. In the lesson we read yesterday for the feast of Blessed Reginald, Jordan tells of his mentor’s grace-filled reception of the habit. Today we hear Jordan describe his own entrance into the Order under Reginald’s inspiration.
From Blessed Jordan of Saxony’s Libellus on the Beginnings of the Order of Preachers:
Brother Reginald, of happy memory, came to Paris and began his energetic preaching. I was moved by divine grace to conceive within myself a desire to join his Order, and I made a promise to this effect in my mind, thinking that I had found precisely the safe way to salvation which I had often thought about, even before I got to know the friars.
Once my own mind was made up, I began with all eagerness to try to entice my friend and companion to join me in my purpose, seeing that both his natural gifts and his gifts of grace would make him a very useful preacher. He resisted, but, far from giving up, I redoubled my efforts to persuade him.
When the day came on which the imposition of ashes reminds the faithful of their creation from the dust and their return to the dust, we decided that it was a suitable occasion for us to begin our life of penance, and to fulfill what we had promised to the Lord.
Our fellow-students who lived in the same hostel were unaware of what we were planning, so, when brother Henry was leaving the building, one of them asked him, “Where are you going, Henry?” He answered, “I am going to Bethany.” The student did not immediately understand what he meant by this, but the facts later made it clear to him, when he saw brother Henry entering Bethany, that is, “the house of obedience.”
The three of us went to St. Jacques, and we arrived unexpectedly but appropriately, while the brethren were already singing “Let us change our garments.” Without delay we put off the old man and put on the new, so that what they were singing was actually realized in what we did.
In 1220 the first General Chapter of the Order was held in Bologna. I was present there myself. I and three others had been sent from Paris, because Master Dominic had instructed us by letter to send four friars from the house in Paris to that in Bologna. I had not yet completed two months in the Order at this time.
At the Chapter it was decreed, with the approval of all the brethren, that the General Chapter should be held one year in Bologna and one year in Paris, except that the following Chapter, in 1221, was to be held in Bologna.
In 1221, at the General Chapter in Bologna, they saw fit to make me the first provincial in Lombardy, although I had only been in the Order one year and had not struck root as deeply as I ought to have done. I was placed over others as their superior, before I had learned to govern my own imperfection. I was not present at this Chapter myself.
After the death of Master Dominic there was a brother in Bologna called Bernard, who was plagued by the most savage demon, to such an extent that he was driven day and night by horrible seizures of madness, which caused no end of disturbance to the brethren. No doubt God’s merciful providence had sent them this trial to exercise his servants’ patience.
Brother Bernard’s fierce tribulation was the occasion which prompted us to decide for the first time to sing the Salve Regina after Compline at Bologna, and this practice spread from there to the rest of the province of Lombardy, and finally the same devout and beneficial practice was adopted throughout the whole Order. A dependable religious once told me that he had often seen in spirit, while the brethren were singing “Turn then, most gracious advocate,” the mother of the Lord prostrating herself in the presence of her Son and praying for the safety of the whole Order. The memory of this ought to be preserved, so that when the brethren read of it, they will be inspired to even greater devotion in their praises of the Virgin.
Click here fore more on the life of Blessed Jordan, an incredible Dominican and a great gift of God to the Church.
you called our brother Jordan
to the preaching of the gospel
by which he drew many to the apostolic way of life.
Help us to preach the way of salvation faithfully
and so proclaim the kingdom of Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.