A Very Little Word

Blessed Jordan of Saxony entered the Dominican order in 1220. Two years later, he was elected as St. Dominic’s successor as the Master of the Order of Friars Preachers, more commonly known, after the name of their founder, as the “Dominicans.” This is also a play on words because, in Latin, “Domini” means “Lord,” and “cane,” means “dog.” With their relentless preaching against the heretics of their day, these tenacious “dogs of the Lord” lived up to their nick-name! Jordan of Saxony died in 1237 in a shipwreck, but what we know of him historically comes from some very powerful letters that he wrote.

Blessed Diana d’Andalò was a close friend of St. Dominic’s and made her religious profession in his hands in 1219. She established the Dominican convent for contemplative nuns in Bologna. She had a great friendship with Blessed Jordan and they wrote many letters to one another. These letters are a beautiful example of a friendship centered in Christ. In 1229, Friar Jordan wrote a Christmas letter to Sister Diana:

Paris 1229

Dear Diana,

I cannot find the time to write you the long letter your love would wish for and I would so gladly send. Nonetheless I do write, I send you a very little word, the Word made little in the crib, the Word who was made flesh for us, the Word of salvation and grace, of sweetness and glory, the Word who is good and gentle, Jesus Christ and him crucified, Christ raised up on the cross, raised in praise to the Father’s right hand: to whom and in whom do you raise up your soul and find there your rest unending for ever and ever.

Read over that Word in your heart, turn it over in your mind, let it be sweet as honey on your lips; ponder it, dwell on it, that it may dwell with you and in you for ever.

There is another word that I send you, small and brief; my love, which will speak for me to your love in your heart and will content it. May this word too be yours, and likewise dwell with you for ever.

Farewell, and pray for me,


Into the darkness comes this very little word, this logos, the light of the world. We have the God of paradox present in our midst. God, all powerful, becomes all weak as a baby; God, all wise, becomes all needy, as a baby; God, who is eternal, enters into time as a baby. And he does this, all the while remaining God. This very little word, “Love’s pure light,” comes to us and we need to take time to unwrap this gift.

A blessed Christmas to you all!

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