St. DOMINIC GUZMAN
(The Founder of Order of Preachers)
It is St. Dominic’s founding inspiration that is at the heart of the structures and life style of the Brothers and Sisters. After more than 800 years this inspiration is still able to arouse in people a fervent desire to be part of the adventure that he began.
A Man of Prayer and Mercy: “God had given him a special grace towards sinners, the poor and the afflicted: he took their troubles into the intimate sanctuary of his compassion. One of the particular things he frequently asked God was to be given a real and effective charity for the salvation of all” (Libellus of Saxe Jordany)
A Man both True and Free: He was free of himself so that he could be united with the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. For the Truth is not some doctrine or teaching but it is the Word of Life, the Word made flesh. It is the Truth that sets Dominic free since the Truth is about Jesus and the mystery that is his person. Thus, in Dominic’s life, truth and compassion always go together to make him a free man in the image of Christ.
A Man at the Service of the Gospel: His constant concern was to proclaim God with passion. “Just speaking to God or about God” in order to pen up the paths of life to people. His preaching takes the form of both word and action: in the book about Charity he draws what he says from Charity’s source and the life he shared with his brothers and sisters would prove to be a living witness to the hope that consumed him.
-To be a Dominican is first of all to contemplate Christ and in contemplating Christ to contemplate the Father whom he fully reveals. To be a Dominican is to contemplate the broken body of Jesus in man’s brokenness and making it part of our life.
-To be a Dominican is to be mobile, to be free for the Lord, to be free to respond to the need for healing and reconciliation wherever it might be, to be free to seek out the poor, the oppressed, the unenlightened, unloved.
-To be a Dominican is to risk. It is to have courage to seek the truth wherever it is hidden. It is to risk ridicule, persecution, even death in a relentless search for the face of God in truth. It is to recognize that all knowledge is at base knowledge of God and to understand that truth reveals the face of God and that he who seeks truth seeks God.
-To be a Dominican is to preach prophetically, to speak God’s word in season and out of season. It is to know that the prophet’s reward is more frequently persecution and rejection than it is adulation and acceptance. It is to know that the prophet’s success is measured only in terms of his faithfulness to God’s word and his call.
-To be disciplined, to listen, to become comfortable in silence and to be willing to risk are ways to prepare for the contemplative experience, for a deeper awareness of the Lord. These elements characterize a contemplative personality or a person trying to become more contemplative, being transformed into Christ. As sons and daughters of the Mother Church, to be Church is to be Christ. To be a minister is to be Christ to others.
-To be Dominican is a particular way of being Church, of being Christ. So much of our becoming results from being open to the insights of our brothers and sisters. Christ was a man for others because He was first of all a man for the Father. We need to continue to become men and women for others because we are men and women consecrated to the Father.
1. Being a contemplative is being open to everyone. Thomas Aquinas clearly stated that the contemplative life is normal growth, flowering and development within a relationship to God. This relationship is begun at Baptism, confirmed and affirmed at Confirmation, nourished in Eucharist and strengthened in our attempts to be of service to our neighbor. A Dominican is both contemplative and active. Let us understand what it means to be a contemplative:
2. To be a contemplative is to be disciplined: To be a disciple is to be disciplined. To be disciplined to be wiling and open to learn. It is necessary to schedule time to be quiet, to be open and listen to ourselves and God.
3. To be a contemplative is to listen: willingness to listen, to be touched by the words and experiences of others, it is a willingness to listen to self, others and God.
4. To be a contemplative is to learn the art of being comfortable in silence and with silence. At the root of this language is the indwelling i.e. God dwelling within human beings, setting up his tent and dwelling within us. As we set aside time to be quiet and to listen, we are clearing the way to listen to this God who is present.
5. To be a contemplative is to be risky, precisely because we are not sure of where we are going. Jesus promises to be with those who do risk and are willing to follow Him.