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From the Pastor 09/02/18

St. Dominic Desire For Study
What was unusual was that St. Dominic did not see prayer and penance alone as sufficient to prepare his preachers. From the very beginning he sent some of his friars to study at the University of Paris, because he was convinced that for the range of preaching required of the bishops whom his preachers were to assist, profound theological preaching was necessary. Nothing less could meet the attacks of the often-learned heretics whom he had met among the Manichees.

“For St. Dominic the preaching of Catholic truth had to be based on profound and continual study; St. Thomas Aquinas is the most apt example of this. Dominic at Palencia was ‘indefatigable at study,’ the Libellus tells us; moreover, in applying to every young man the words of Jesus: Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Bl. Jordan is anticipating the Thomistic and Dominican motto: contemplare et complata allis tradere. He comments, ‘There are two ways of keeping the divine word: one is to retain in our memory what we have heard; the other is to consecrate ourselves to it in deeds and show by our actions that things we have heard ... the servant of God, (Dominic) neglects neither of these.” Bedouelle, O.P., In the Image of St. Dominic, p. 144.

”To guard, then, against a too inhumane view of life, Dominic insisted upon the need of prayer to soften and safeguard the intellectual outlook that was a necessary condition of the ideal purpose of himself and his brethren. He drove them to the study of the truths of faith, pushed them on to a study of philosophy and theology, made them instant in exposition and defense, and then to prevent all this from withering the devotional side of their nature by the over-development of the purely abstract interests of the faith, insisted upon a monastic observance of austerity and of the Divine Office.” Jarrett, O.P., Life of St. Dominic, p. 94.

St. Dominic Spirituality

“It is not enough to know all about him (Christ); it is further necessary to know him. Hence as a means of knowledge comes love, for by a reaction the more we love the more we shall know our friends. For this reason we find St. Dominic deliberately developing a strong personal devotion to Christ and making his spiritual life move round that central point ... The crucifix, Mass, the Blessed Sacrament, the gospels and epistles, anything that conjured up in him the easiest means for helping him to pray.” Jarrett, O.P., Life of St. Dominic, pp. 95, 97.

“For St. Dominic, then, prayer was the simple converse of the soul with God: and converse it the easier, fuller, when it is between two friends. The more, then, the mind can realize the friendship with God, which is the essence of religion, the more facile is the heart’s opening of itself, for the problem of prayer is always how to make God the friend not only accepted and believed in, but form part of the familiar circumstance of life.” Jarrett, O.P., Life of St. Dominic, p. 99.

“He spoke only of and to God, ’said a follower of Dominic; and we feel that he did this naturally because God was the central object of his daily work and nightly watching. As Dante observingly notes of him, he was ‘the athlete’ of Christ, ‘kindly to his friends, fierce to his foes;’ he was the ‘torrential’ preacher just because he was ‘fast-knit to Christ,’ and he was knit fast to Christ by means of his vivid and intensely personal prayer.” Jarrett, O.P., Life of St. Dominic, p. 100.

“The seed of everything is contained in Dominic’s fervor, and it is this dynamism that begets joy. This the leaven that pervades Dominican life; it is the salt that flavors all we do, the salt Christ asked of his apostles in the Gospel ... For I am convinced that beneath this ‘divine fervor,’ there lies hidden in him the fire of charity that enkindles the joy of the spirit.” Bedouelle, O.P., In the Image of St. Dominic, p. 153.

“We see his (Dominic’s) dedication to the oneness of the Church in his preaching against heresy; to the universality of the Church in his sending the brethren ‘to far-flung corners of the Church of God;’ to the apostolicity of the Church in his founding the Order ‘in imitation of the apostles;’ and in his attachment to Rome ... (his) readiness in fulfilling the Church’s universal task.” Bedouelle, O.P., In the Image of St. Dominic, p. 146.

A blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor