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William Shakespeare, O.P.?

9 hours 44 min ago
Shakespeare was a secret Catholic, more and more readers claim. Might he also have been a surreptitious Dominican—a tertiary like St. Catherine of Siena? An argument for Shakespeare’s connection with the Dominicans could, in a certain sense, actually be stronger than those for his personal affiliation with the Catholic creed. The theories advanced in support […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Celestial Intercession

09/29/2016 - 6:30am
The angels in their glorious celestial array are the servants and messengers of God, the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (Ps 103:20, CCC 329). The spirits surround the throne of God and fill the heavenly courts with their unending song of praise. Sent forth, they carry out […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

What’s the Point of a Priest?

09/28/2016 - 6:30am
“Why does it take so long to become a priest?” I get this a lot. Many people seem to think, subconsciously, that a priest is just the guy you call to officiate at your wedding or to provide marriage counseling; what would make that take so long? Recently, just to prove the insanity of it, […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Professing Vows

09/27/2016 - 6:30am
I would wager that Chapter 7 in the Book of Numbers is not high on the prayerful reading list for those preparing for marriage or religious vows. This rather dry chapter describes the offerings of the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel when Moses was anointing, consecrating, and dedicating the altar at Mount Sinai. […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Look at me, really

09/26/2016 - 6:30am
Annoyance was the only way to describe it. Day after day this past summer in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I walked six blocks from our priory to the office where I was interning. A normal day would include one or two interactions with passersby asking, “What are you?” or some question about the […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Building Churches, Saving Souls

09/23/2016 - 6:30am
When Brother Thomas Aquinas joined the Dominican Order at the age of 16, he never imagined that within four years he would bring the Gospel to violence-torn Pakistan. Today, if you were to run into Brother Thomas Aquinas in New York City (where he’s currently assigned), it’d be difficult to imagine just how remarkable a […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Friar Teacher

09/22/2016 - 6:30am
In depictions of Saint Dominic, a dog, clutching a torch in its mouth and seated upon a globe, often accompanies the Order’s founder. By God’s grace, that fire is still blazing after eight centuries, carried into today’s world by the sons of Saint Dominic. This summer, I had the good fortune to catch up with […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Preaching the Missions

09/21/2016 - 6:30am
Editor’s note: This is the third post in a series that honors the religious lives and fidelity of several of our Jubilarians as part of our celebration of the 800th Jubilee of the Order of Preachers. Father Angelo Henry Camacho, O.P., professed his first vows on August 16, 1954. A year earlier, he had received his religious name, Henry, after the eminent […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Preacher, Professor, and Author Extraordinaire

09/20/2016 - 6:30am
Editor’s note: This is the second post in a series that honors the religious lives and fidelity of several of our Jubilarians as part of our celebration of the 800th Jubilee of the Order of Preachers. The 750th anniversary of the Dominicans in 1966 saw the ordination of the young Fr. Basil Cole in San Francisco, and now the 800th anniversary […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Preaching Reality

09/19/2016 - 6:30am
Editor’s note: This is the first post in a series that honors the religious lives and fidelity of several of our Jubilarians as part of our celebration of the 800th Jubilee of the Order of Preachers. Fr. John Farren is a Dominican friar because he was a good delivery boy. Not in the newspaper sense—though the three Farren brothers did deliver more […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

The Love of God?

09/16/2016 - 6:30am
A couple weeks ago, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote a piece entitled “What Religion Would Jesus Belong To?” The title, I suppose, is meant to be ironic—the suggestion being that Jesus, a great spiritual leader, should be able to see beyond religious differences to an alleged essential core—something Kristoff calls “a loving way […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

The Love that Suffers

09/15/2016 - 6:30am
Does love sometimes require that we suffer? Today we commemorate Our Lady of Sorrows, the Mater dolorosa movingly depicted by artists such as Michelangelo and Pergolisi. The Church puts forward two possible Gospel readings from the “bookends” of Jesus’s life for today’s liturgical memorial: the presentation of the infant Jesus in the Jewish temple after […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Married Love and the Cross

09/14/2016 - 6:30am
Looking over my sister’s wedding photographs recently, I was struck by the prominence of the Crucifix overlooking the altar where she and my brother-in-law exchanged their vows. Amidst the flowers, lace and radiant smiles hung an image of a naked man, abandoned by his friends and dying in agony. Yet there he was, hanging between […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

“Dark Magic” and Jesus

09/13/2016 - 6:30am
Will Stanton, an eleven-year-old wizard, is racing across a snow-covered island on the Thames River in the middle of the worst winter storm in history. Will—the hero of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising—is in pursuit of a sinister, shadowy figure who has just kidnapped his sister. Stumbling across the roots of an old beech […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

To Be Forever Remembered

09/12/2016 - 6:30am
Before I entered the Catholic Church, if someone asked me to name a saint after the apostolic age two names came to mind: St. Francis of Assisi, well-known for his voluntary poverty and ubiquitous presence in the form of garden statues, and Mother Teresa, the Catholic nun who cared for the poor and traveled the […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

A Forgiving Anger

09/09/2016 - 6:30am
Fifteen years ago this Sunday, the skies were cleared of planes as dust continued to settle over Manhattan. The nation held its breath. Each man, woman, and child waited in hope that their loved ones were alive. Shock drove many back to church seeking some meaning, some way to respond. Then anger set in. We […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Trouble in River City

09/08/2016 - 6:30am
People thought about things differently in times long gone, and it can be very hard to pin down exactly what the differences are. They usually go unmentioned, and so unnoticed, in the background. Take something so simple as cause and effect. Classical or even medieval thought went one way. Following them, we would say that […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

Deus ex machina

09/07/2016 - 6:30am
An eagleMany a budding literary scholar is happy to mock deus ex machina wherever it appears. We’re often taught that this device is used only by incompetent writers or film directors who drive their characters into impossible situations but are too weak to allow the story to take its natural course. Of course, when the characters […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

They Can’t Repay

09/06/2016 - 6:30am
Painting of a kneeling beggarAround this time of year, college freshmen start thinking about big social questions. They sit in history and sociology classes and receive narratives and statistics about the underprivileged. They tend to contrast this to their relatively soft lives. Two dangers present themselves at this moment during the second week of class. Either these students won’t […]
Categories: Dominican Vocations

I Shall Not Want

09/05/2016 - 6:30am
Loving Shepherd

“Don’t wish your life away” is a piece of parental wisdom that especially stands out from my childhood. It was always my mother’s immediate retort whenever my brother or I would verbalize our impatience at the approach of events like Christmas, summer vacation, or birthdays. As a child it always seemed like a rather pointless statement, since I couldn’t seem to get time to move any faster regardless of how much I wanted it to, but the more of my life I’ve lived, the more apt the sentiment appears.

We may not be able to speed up time, but we can invest ourselves so much in wishing that things were different that our life slips away before our very eyes. The formula usually follows the pattern, “I can’t X until Y.” It can be on a major scale: “I can’t be a good citizen until our government starts working” or “I can’t be a good Catholic until the Church gets its act together.” It can also be on a minor scale: “I can’t love my coworker until he stops annoying me” or “I can’t be at peace as long as this situation continues.” In all the matters that make up our daily lives, we can be tempted to make our internal disposition dependent on external circumstances that will never be perfectly to our liking.

There are many difficulties with this way of thinking, but the main problem is believing that something necessary is lacking when everything we need is at hand. Jean-Pierre de Caussade puts it eloquently:

Faith always believes that nothing is wanting to it, and never complains of the privation of means which might prove useful for its increase, because the Workman, who employs them efficaciously, supplies what is wanting by His action. The divine action is the whole virtue of the creature. (Abandonment to Divine Providence 2.4.4)

It turns out that much less is necessary for human flourishing than we typically think. Nothing that is inaccessible to us at this very moment is needed for our fulfilment at this very moment. What is needed for the future will be provided when it is needed, and there is no use pining away for it. If we look forward to a perfect future in this life, we are only wasting our enjoyment of the present, which lacks nothing essential to the life of beatitude.

It should be noted that this way of living is very different from the “grin and bear it” mentality with which it is often confused. Instead of just making the best of life despite what fortune has left us without, faith affirms the constant availability of everything that makes life worth living. Why does faith affirm this? Because no temporal reality can impede God’s activity in the world. If God needed no prior matter from which to create the world, how much less ought he need anything to make us prosper? “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).

Image: Lawrence Lew, OP, Loving Shepherd (used with permission)

Categories: Dominican Vocations