Questions that need answering: Laity in the Church

taken while at adoration in the dark last week. The Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus surrounded by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena and angels
I took this picture while at adoration in the dark last week. The Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus surrounded by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena and angels

I have another Lay Dominican meeting this week and that means, reading, re-reading, reflecting and journaling to complete these modules. The meeting is on Thursday, so I still have time to refine, refine, refine before I actually present to the chapter. Like I did last month, I am sharing my personal reflections here. As this is about the Laity’s call within the order and the church, I recommend also reading and reflecting upon this document I found in my researching. Here are my thoughts:

1. What are the four pillars of the Dominican Order?

The four pillars of the Dominican Order are Prayer, Study, Community and Apostolate (or mission)

2. The Church is called the “People of God.” Notice that in each of the pillars there is the phrase “People of the Word.” Discuss what this means to you (refer to the postulant document – my addition):

As I contemplated this question, I thought of this scripture:

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Be in the world, not of the world. But what does it mean to be “in” anything? To be immersed, consumed, to be wholly a part of. ‘I want in’, people say. Applied here, I want to be the Word in prayer, the Word in study, the Word in community and the Word in apostolate. Faith is active. A call to action within each pillar through the Word. In essence, we are to be the Word. A walking breathing living example of the Word, infusing and igniting each pillar of the Order. ”From prayer springs an increase in the desire to take on apostolic work”. (Postulancy, Module 2)

3. Discuss why and how you as a lay Dominican are called to be a person of the Word?

The building up of the Church is a sacred call. In this particular fashion, it is a lifelong promise, bound more securely to the Catholic faith through this spirituality (specifically here, the Dominican spirituality and Order).

In the RCIA process, I had prayer, study and community. Deep within myself I knew that something was missing, but I kept that to myself. I didn’t share this feeling of more with my RCIA brothers and sisters or my priest’s and deacon for that matter. After experiencing a larger void when the initiation process was over, I began to search. I felt the lamps were flickering because there was no study or community. Just my prayer, and my burn for the Catholic faith, for this, more. I knew and know that I am never alone. God is always with me, but I am a woman and not perfect. Dying to self is something that I continually practice.

I was (and still am) in love with the Catholic faith. I needed more time in that initiation process! It was this longing that brought me to the third order and specifically the Lay Dominican community. I want to bring the Word to others – the world over – if I can. I want others to fall in love with the Catholic faith. It is through blogging, that the final thread is sewn. This community, and added apostolate, completes the rich tapestry of Catholic faith for me (although I am still learning, that never ends). This blog was the missing piece, and this Order sews it all up. My mission, or apostolate, my “preach” of God and the Word, is through social media. I have, through this continual discernment process, sought out my God given gifts of writing, study, prayer and reflection. A sensitivity toward promptings by the Holy Spirit to see that in this space of written prayer, I can help (in a very small way) build up the Church by building up others and sharing whatever I learn with whoever will read (or listen).

4. Reviewing the four pillars of the Dominican Order, why is study such an integral part of our call to action?

How can we preach the faith, discern the faith, share the faith or even attempt to live the faith if we do not know it? I often doubt myself. I prefer to withhold answering or sharing because I don’t want to speak wrongly. That in and of itself is wrong. Speak. Speak and be corrected. Don’t let pride interfere. Die to the self and live the Word.

They abstain from interference, because they fear that, if it fail of good effect, their own safety or reputation may be damaged or destroyed; not because they see that their preservation and good name are needful, that they may be able to influence those who need their instruction, but rather because they weakly relish the flattery and respect of men, and fear the judgments of the people, and the pain or death of the body; that is to say, their non-intervention is the result of selfishness, and not of love. (“The City of God”, St. Augustine of Hippo)

To witness, we must be wise. To grow in holiness we must be wise. For our own sanctification, we too, must be wise. What good is it to help our brother and sister if we do not first help ourselves?!

Fraternity members share in the prayers, merits and graces of the whole order, and are given a mission from Christ to carry the faith in word and example, to be loyal to the teachings of the Church, to give help and encouragement to the weak and perhaps fallen-away Catholics. Our mission is to encourage the weak and perhaps fallen away Catholics. To those who criticize the changes in the ways our faith is expressed, lay Dominicans can be witnesses in faith that all changes are guided by the Holy Spirit even now, as shown in the history of the Church throughout the ages. (Postulancy, Module 2)

We must be ready to defend our faith with the bows He left us with which to fill our quivers!

1 Peter 3:15-16

but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.

5. Think of two ways you can integrate each of the pillars into your daily life.

Prayer: Morning and Evening prayer, whether reading it, listening to it (in the car or in the bath!), praying the rosary daily – meditating on the mysteries, weekly adoration – this is what I do now. I don’t think it should count, so I would like to add praying with the beatitudes. I know this is vital to this order and I would like to pray more and reflect more on this. I have a couple of books. Not surprising.

Study: Read up on the Saints and Blesseds of this Order. I am currently reading anything I can about St. Luke’s gospel with The Navarre Bible. Reading the Magnificat, encyclicals, City of God by St. Augustine of Hippo. Interestingly – silence. I think listening and observation is a form of study. Another prism with which to reflect upon and bring to prayer.

Community: I am the intercessory prayer coordinator for the RCIA at my parish. Seeking out other third order members online and creating another community within my “real life” community. Yes, I talk about you, and you, and you in my meetings! You’ll see in my notes (below) that I wrote about recruitment efforts. I am working on this one in my head. Like Gandalf here – sort of not ready yet.

Apostolate: Well, what is an apostolate you say?

Lay people have the ability to penetrate with the Gospel areas of the world that religious cannot reach.” I make rosaries for people and children I never meet. I write here daily including prayer and an invitation to prayer daily. (3op.org)

I am on the RCIA team in my parish. This fulfills my personal call to an apostolate. I have presented on Mary, Sacred Scripture and coordinate Adoration for intercessory prayer for all candidates.

Therefore, like St. Dominic, fraternity members have a very specific apostolate that they choose to undertake, that of preaching the Gospel to the poorly catechized, to the uncatechized, to unbelievers, and to those who are hostile to the Gospel. (3op.org)

I have recently joined a social media group that prays for people at my parish (outside of the RCIA). I hope to add more here, but perhaps that would fall into a group apostolate, God willing!

6. Discuss how the four pillars are interrelated and how each one supports the other three.

This is what I did to help me visualize and try calm the rush of ideas and thoughts that attacked me!

Yes, I draw, scribble, journal and otherwise doo-dad.
Yes, I draw, scribble, journal and otherwise doo-dad.

Prayer is strengthened where two or three are gathered? Are they not? He is with us then!

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.

Study brings about learning. As an almost teacher (two more classes and a test!) I find the best way to learn is to share with others – – within a community! It’s almost too simple, it almost makes too much sense to me. The fruit that is reaped when sharing! The community is then charged with such grace, they are called to action, or mission. An apostolate. It all fits and it all acts as a catalyst for the other. So much can be said here, but we only have so much time in the meeting.

7. How can your active participation in the chapter’s group apostolate help to strengthen the chapter’s community and aid in your spiritual development?

This will have to come in another installment! Sorry folks! Had to go to the Chapter President on this one. I am sure, you have enough to chew on here. I know I do!

I met my personally imposed 5PM deadline (sort of)! With that…

 St. Dominic, pray for us!

Mary, Mother of Preachers, Pray for Us.

Interested in joining the Order of Preachers as a Lay Dominican? Get thee to this site,
or contact me using the form below:

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