Questions that need answering: The Life of Saint Dominic

I have another Lay Dominican meeting this week. I thought I would share the answers I’ve been st dominic st john the baptistworking through with you on paper this past month for the Postulant 1 Module that I was assigned. (I like to think of it as my first internal examination of my attraction to this order.)

How is the rule of mendicant poverty different from the prevailing monastic culture of Dominic’s day? What advantages did this mode of living have for the preacher in a country that admired the Gospel austerity of the first apostles?

Mendicant poverty meant daily begging for food for the community differed from the prevailing monastic culture of the day by focusing on preaching the gospel as had the first apostles. The monastic culture of Dominic’s day were separated from community, living secluded from the outside world. How can anyone relate to this?

Praying, while important and necessary requires action, requires activity in conjunction. This is where the Order of Preachers stands out. Apostles means, “one who is sent”. As a preacher out in the world, and making this a priority above all else, they mirror the true meaning of the word apostle, going out and preaching to all.

What role does providence play in our lives? Does the Holy Spirit direct our lives for His purposes and the salvation of souls? In what way are the times of Dominic a mirror of our times?

Divine guidance plays an integral role in our lives should we be open to it. I believe prayer opens one up to alleviate the fear and natural inclination to control the happenings on one’s life.

I believe the Holy Spirit directs our lives in all things especially in the salvation of souls. It is because of this direction that I ended here in this particular order. There is so much disbelief and a global shift towards a very dominating egocentric way of life.

St. Dominic focused on preaching the Word of God to others. To bring others into the truth. He stood up to the heresies of the day, courageously and with nothing but years of study to go to battle with. It is the same today. We MUST know the word of God, we MUST know the sound of the Holy Spirit, we must continue to progress the faith in a way that others unfold it for themselves.

For whom did Dominic intercede? For whom do we pray and intercede?  Do we pray before the Holy Eucharist as Dominic did?

St. Dominic  prayed for sinners. Everyone is a sinner; by extension he prayed for everyone. I pray and intercede for anyone who asks and even those who don’t. Just at mass this weekend, I finished my prayer early during Communion – or rather the Holy Spirit prompted me to peer out as I looked down, hands clasped and pray for every person (I was only able to see their feet) the passed by. A simple “God bless you” was all I said. I didn’t see any faces, just feet walking, one foot in front of the other towards Our Lord.

I go to Adoration once a week with a friend in a different location – but we go at the same time. In this time we pray for the good of our order, the salvation of our husbands (as they are both atheists) and any other intentions we’ve been asked to pray for. Seek the Lord where he may be found – I sing that song often at mass and how it rings true here.

Discuss the ways in which the Order of Preachers is a paradigm shift from previous religious life.

Previous religious life was quite rigid in prayer and song – which is worthy to be sure, however, the paradigm shift that resonated with me. Dominic, as the first General Chapter of the Order, established that the rule and constitutions were not to bind under sin, and that all provisions were dispensable for the sake of preaching and study. This commitment to study in the order is a unique contribution of Dominic in developing a new form of religious life.

In other words, if I am speaking to my son about the Beatitudes – as I was the other day, during the time that I am supposed pray evening prayer, I wouldn’t abandon my teaching to pray. It is through this teaching, in my understanding, that I am also praying and this is not under pain of sin (or against the rule of the order).

Do we use love and the convincing power of the Holy Spirit to bring about the conversion or the change of heart of those whom God places in our path? Do we pray for those with whom we disagree and intercede with them using a dialogue of under¬ standing and compassionate love? Can we rely on our past study and meditation on Scripture to use in a time of opportune moment?

Yes. I do. Daily. Every moment is an opportune moment. With an atheist husband, the Holy Spirit truly is my advocate during discussion, or disagreements.

I pray for my brother and Mother in this way. We do not agree and do not speak. I do, however pray for their peace, salvation of soul and conversion of heart to the truth and to our Lord.

We can use past study, Lectio Divina, spiritual reading, Scripture, Morning and Evening Prayer, anything, anything at all that the Holy Spirit prompts us to speak can be used to engage in a dialogue of love and understanding for those that we disagree with or for those who disagree with us.

What impressed you most about the life of St. Dominic? What impact do you plan for it to have on your life?

What impressed me most about St. Dominic is his entire evening conversion of that man at the inn. He didn’t give up. He didn’t succumb to his own bodily weakness of exhaustion or lack of sleep, or the perceived wall he was up against with someone who didn’t believe. Eventually there was conversion. With my husband, for me, it is just a longer night.

Currently, I blog on a daily basis. This is my “preach” and I am preaching. I speak of my spirituality, I speak of reflections on homilies, spiritual books, my journey in this order and in my unequally yoked marriage. I have written about the controversies of the perceived of female priesthood and plan to write about abortion and other social teachings in time.

I find that this reading and writing is in direct correlation to what St. Dominic would have me do were he alive – in the flesh – today. As an #RCIA team member I also plan to speak to candidates after they enter the Church about continuing their faith journey in the order. As a new convert myself, I felt I studied so much and learned, shared my faith with others. After Easter Vigil, there was a silence in my faith as I didn’t have that weekly meeting to discuss my journey. I don’t want other new Catholics to feel this way and fall away. I feel called to help bridge this gap with the Lay Dominicans. Furthermore,

Dominic balanced the need for liturgical prayer with the needs of preaching and study. Earlier orders had a prolonged choral life, spending many hours of their day in liturgical prayer and chant; Dominic reduced this obligation. Yet while he may have shortened the length of time spent in the choir, he still encouraged his brethren to pray with great devotion.

I thought this was tickling to me personally. As a singer in the choir, I realize that I can sing praises to God and witness to him that way, I can also shorten my time in the choir and attend to prayer with great devotion. I feel St. Dominic was calling me to have more of a balance. Don’t you?

St. Dominic, pray for us!

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19 thoughts on “Questions that need answering: The Life of Saint Dominic

  1. Being a part of a community that you can share your faith with is SO crucial. I have seen converts drift away from the Church once they lose that support system, it’s very sad. You are wise to seek out continual community to share with and seek support in. Love you!

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  2. It was astonishing to me when my first Lay OP retreat (also the first ever in the country) focused more about, not study, but mysticism. Study came naturally as we had periods of group discussions and sharing, but the priests and nuns there infused us with lots of prayers and meditations. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised I learnt more about praying and devotion to the souls in purgatory in the Order of *Preachers*! The Doms really do have a balanced diet! 😀

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  3. While I’m happy you are seeking out our brothers and sisters in the 3rd Order, you should not post answers to the questions of the Modules on line. Do you think you are the only person studying these modules? It is a private reflection, between you and the Order you are seeking to join, which I am familiar with. Thanks

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    1. Hi Candice,

      Thank you SO much for posting your opinions. I would hope I am not the only person studying these modules.:) We’d like for Third Orders to grow!

      I haven’t heard from my chapter president that this is something I shouldn’t be doing. Furthermore, I would think this is not a “test” where answers could be copied but a sharing, as you say a reflection. My reflections are my own, they are private and thus my right to share with whom please.

      I appreciate your concern for others who may choose to “search” for the answers to these online. If that is the theory, wouldn’t the Holy Spirit “shake them out” so to speak?

      Peace.
      Cristina

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  4. I am not sure when you wrote this, but i am in formation as well. i ‘liked’ your page on Facebook too. It’s great to see other Lay Dominicans in training =)

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    1. Awesome! Please share your thoughts, how it’s going, anything. And yes, it’s me, Cristina, who wrote and writes anything here.

      There are a few of us (in formation) around. I try to spotlight their blogs on my page. I’ll be sure to note #3op for ya so you know which is which.

      In St. Dominic,
      Cristina

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  5. I also saw the comment about ‘not posting answers’….i just want you to know that my answers are completely different =)…plus i assume your/every chapter teaches the modules and goes over the answers, so i don’t think you are giving anything away, especially if you haven’t been told it’s wrong to do so….just my opinion, of course.

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  6. Cannot find a working link to your Facebook page. Is there also an e-mail address where you can be reached? I have just had my application to the Third Order Lay Dominicans accepted and just beginning my journey.

    God bless~

    Sandy

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    1. Hi Sandy! I don’t have a FB page for my blog. How exciting that you are beginning your journey! I can be reached at fillpraycloset{at}gmail{dot}com. Peace, Cristina

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      1. Thanks, Cristina! I’m a little scared, but really excited! At 63, I never would have thought this was a journey I would be on. 😊

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