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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dominican Spirituality

I am read a book by William A. Hinnebusch, O.P. entitled Dominican Spirituality Principles and Practice.  I have been reading this book for a month and tonight I finished Chapter I.

That's right.  Chapter ONE.

Being a member of the Order of Preachers is a daunting and fulfilling  life even for a tertiary like me. I am asked to be like the Apostles, to converse with God or, to use the classic phrase of St Thomas Aquinas, "contemplate and give to others the fruit of (my) contemplation".  

And I am not just supposed to contemplate any old thing.  Nope.  As a contemplative Dominican, I must 'pursue evangelical perfection'.  I must imitate the life of the Apostles.  I must engage in 'constant study' lest I jeopardize my very vocation as a Dominican.  If the study of Truth was not enough, I must be willing to devote myself wholeheartedly to pursuing truth in every aspect of my life.  I must do my best to be the best at whatever it is I do, not for my own glory but only for the salvation of souls.

There are many chances, every day, for me to pursue both perfection and Truth. It would seem to me that not taking advantage of these chances is what could be sinful for me.  If I am in the grocery store, I have the opportunity to shop in such a way as to shine the light of Christ in the 15 items or less aisle.  If I am in line for the Sacrament of Confession, I have the chance to bring Jesus to the priest who is there to hear my sins and absolve me, in persona Christi.

After reading just the first chapter of this book I am a little overwhelmed with my own unsuitability for the Order.  I cannot help but think that there might have been a mistake, that call I thought I heard,  and yet I can also tell you that I cannot think of any other place someone like me belongs.  I am drawn to the study of Truth, not because I want to be the best apologist or even the most learned Catholic.  I want to study, I want to learn and I want to share so that I can help others study, learn and share...I want to help them find the love I found in the arms of Holy Mother Church.   I want to contemplate, and share the fruits of that contemplation because maybe another sinful and sad woman might find her way Home once they hear what I have found.

Marie Joseph Lagrange, OP, wrote of his intention to die a member of the Catholic Church and to do so obedient to his vows as a member of the Dominican Order.  I intend the same.  It is lovely and comforting to me to know I stand on his shoulders and the shoulders of other giants in this order.  It helps me to know that others trod this path before me and that I can walk the same one even if I can never match their strides.

I intend to die a member of the Catholic Church.  I intend to live until that death trying my best to be a good Dominican.

St Dominic, pray for me.

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