On Saturday, I took the first step on my journey to become a professed Dominican (Third Order).
As most people know, I have loved various spiritualities within Holy Mother Church but have struggled to find one that fits me. I love the logic and passion of the Jesuits, the joy and laughter of the Franciscans, the quiet contemplation of the Carmelites.
But I stumbled across the Rule of St Dominic when listening to podcasts from St Thomas Aquinas University. That lead me to tackle some of the great man' writings. I am still trudging my way through the Summa.
I fell in love with the love of learning, exemplified by the Order of Preachers. One cannot preach on something unless one is willing to LEARN about it, which makes beautiful sense.
I also fell in love with the idea that Faith, without Reason, is not Faith but hysteria. Reason, without Faith, is not Reason but arrogance.
I saw a whole lot of hysteria and arrogance on The Hive and came periously close to falling headlong into that trap myself several times. It was then that I realized that someone as weak and fragile as this human being better have some strong and good parameters to guide her.
Enter the Lay Formation Chapter of the Dominican Order at St Joseph's in Modesto.
Once a month, I will meet with like-minded people - some fully professed religious and others full members of the Third Order (used be called Tertiaries, which I like) - to discuss, read, study and pray.
After two years, if I am still on the path, I will be considered for temporary vows.
This next month, we will be discussing 'prudence'. To give you just a smidgen of what I get to read and pray about until that time:
The virtue of prudence is the wisdom of living and acting according to the norms of eternal law, natural law (reason) and conscience. We know from both the Old Testament, especially in the rook of Sirach and throughout the New Testament, the profound insight that, though we are created by God, we are free to make our own decisions.
Natural prudence is related to the natural order and is concerned with our natural happiness. The infused virtue of prudence is concerned with our supernatural happiness that is our sanctity and eternal salvation.
Prudent has eight integral parts:
1. Memory----We are able to learn from past experience and hence the young cannot be prudent.
2. Understanding ---An insight to the meaning of the present.
3. Docility---Ability to accept counsel from those of more experience, which leads, therefore, to respect for our elders.
4. Sagacity---The wisdom to act rightly and well in an urgent situation when there is “no time to think.”
5. Reasoning---The use of intelligence to judge rightly what to do.
6. Foresight---To look ahead and see possible consequences in making the judgment of how to act.
7. Circumspection---The ability to look at angles, perspectives of a situation to get a broader view of the problem to be faced.
8. Caution---To pause, evaluate and then act.
St. Thomas gives us three ways that we may grow in prudence.
1. We grow as we use the gift of reason and learn to do good and to avoid evil.
2. We begin with approaching our life situation with common sense. We must, as we grow in other areas, grow in our moral formation which is our response to God's call to be like Him.
3. We grow as we respond to the gift of counsel.
Now, let me ask you....
do you think I am going to be able to do this?
St Dominic, pray for me. St Catherine of Sienna, hold my hand.