Dominican Spirituality-Prayer

Another example of Dominican life is the dedication to prayer. Dominic retained the monastic recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, but he was willing to dispense attendance if brothers had to study or preach. Dominic also observed long hours of private prayer. He popularized the meditation of the mysteries of the Rosary and found that preaching flowed naturally and abundantly from the meditation of Jesus’ life. Very much related to prayer is the practice of penance. In today’s world bodily penances seem the stuff of the mentally unbalanced. Without a doubt, Dominic’s practices of self-denial of adequate food and rest contributed to his death before he reached fifty years old. We must keep in mind three motives Dominic had in mind in the practice of penance: first; and this is the case for any contemplative, the conviction that our love of pleasure must be kept in check if real serenity of mind is to be achieved. Second, we are all tainted by sinful tendencies, and we cannot reach freedom from sin without a discipline that orders our appetites to the governing of reason enlightened by faith. Third, it is in suffering that we identify ourselves with the crucified Christ who died for us, and with the suffering of all humanity. We should mention that a life in poverty is an essential component of the ascetical life as envision by St. Dominic. We should recall that Dominic adopted poverty to make his preaching credible to the poor who saw in the poverty of the Albigensian heretics a superior holiness from the clergy of the the time. As with the Franciscans, the Dominican ideal of poverty was to be later modified, since it was deemed to impractical for the work of the Order. Without a doubt, the ideal remains part of the Dominican spirit, since Dominicans today realize that their work cannot be achieved if they are too occupied with temporal cares.

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