The Order of Preachers was founded on December 22, 1216 by St Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest. It was founded to preach the Gospel and combat heresy and it is known for its intellectual tradition, its devotion to the Holy Rosary and Our Lady and its dedication to Truth.
As a Member of the Lay Dominicans I must strive to be an effective instrument of Truth, ever mindful that my work flows from the fullness of prayer, contemplation and study. As a part of our Rule (#12 to be exact) we must promote Christian unity and dialogue with non-Christians and non-believers. We must witness to the Gospel through our Life, through our knowledge of Church doctrine and by engaging the use of philosophy and rhetoric. All this has to be done in the spirit of love, and with the understanding that we cannot win souls for Christ and His Church unless they are willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and the Grace that God has granted us.
I was drawn to the order because of my work as a Catechist and because of my service commitments in my 12 step program. In fact, it was my 12 step work that lead me to being a Catechist. I have a charism for teaching and that manifested itself after I got sober (though there were inklings long ago. Recently a woman contacted me on Facebook to thank me for being the one who taught her to read when I was 10 and she was 7 and I was assigned to be her tutor at Christ the King school 'back in the day').
While my personal charisms drew me to this Order, the incredible gift I have received from St Dominic and St Catherine of Sienna has been my learning to rely upon prayer. When I look back over this blog, for instance, I can see how I have grown in that area of my life. No longer worried about what others think of me, no longer needing to engage with those who try and hurt me for no other reason than they just enjoy hurting people, I have grown enough to recognize when I am in trouble spiritually and when I have to ask for help.
Recently I was filled with temptations that were directly connected to a cross I bear - the cross of loneliness. If I had allowed these temptations to derail me my life would have been a disaster. I knew something was wrong, that this was much more than just a passing interest or fancy, and I needed help.
Out came the pen and paper. I wrote out what was happening in my mind and where I feared it was leading me. I reached out for help and asked for prayer from friends, in particular from St Simon of Cyrene. I went to Confession. I went to Mass and received Our Lord in the Eucharist.
My mind became quieter, my body calmed down....I was given the gift of peace one more time.
This Saturday I will make my three-year promises as a member of the Lay Dominicans - Fra Angelico Chapter. I am going to try to be a good member, to rely upon God and to stay sober and to keep my eyes on the prize.
Please pray for me.