Tag Archives: St. Dominic

St. Dominic Jubilee Prayer


God, Father of mercy,

Who called your servant Dominic de Guzman

to set out in faith as an itinerant pilgrim and a preacher of grace,

as we celebrate the Jubilee of the Order

we ask you to pour again into us the Spirit of the Risen Christ,

that we might faithfully

and joyfully proclaim the Gospel of peace,

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Teeing Up for Evangelization

“I realized, with the help of grace, that Jesus Christ was not just a nice man, but God become man.” This realization drove Brother Peter Hannah, O.P., from the driving range of the golf course to the Order of Preachers founded by St. Dominic.

Bro. Peter was raised Presbyterian but it wasn’t long before golf replaced God as the most important factor in his life. Reading Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis convinced him as to the truth of Christianity. It was a short step from Lewis to G.K. Chesterton, “the first person I came across who wrote of the Catholic Church as if it were a distinct entity.”

Attending Mass with a friend was a revelation. He realized: “If what the Catholic Church teaches about the Eucharist is true, this is the most astonishing and beautiful thing that I have ever seen. If the Catholic Church is right about the Eucharist, then I must become Catholic, since God is manifesting Himself here in a way He isn’t in other Christian communions.” He made a resolution to do a holy hour every day and after 2 months was convinced of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist. Six months after his reception into the Church, he knew he was called to the priesthood.

Bro. Peter was drawn to the Dominicans because of their focus on evangelization. His full name in religion is Brother Peter Junipero after the great saint, Junipero Serra, the Franciscan missionary of California, Peter’s home state. God willing, Brother Peter will be ordained a priest next year for the Western Dominican Province. To see the complete story, visit the National Catholic Register.

An Ancient Spirituality

Oldest Known Dominican Missal, Lausanne Monastery

There are many ancient Rites still in use in the Church today which gives us a beautiful glimpse into the spirituality of our ancient forebears. The Dominican Rite is one of the most fascinating. I was prompted to look more deeply into it today because at morning mass on this Feast of St. Dominic, the priest said that it is a tradition for Dominicans to process with the processional cross facing backwards. This allows the friars and the priests to “gaze upon the cross.”

The Dominican Rite came about due to the rapid growth of the Order and the need for a uniform liturgical spirit to bind the preachers together. Today, we are used to the Roman Rite being the norm for most of Catholicism. You can imagine as the local churches were built up in the early Church and communications were lacking, that many geographically-oriented and community-unique rites came into existence and flourished.

The Dominican Rite was codified in 1256 and remained in use until 1968, when the Roman Rite of Mass and of the Liturgy of the Hours was adopted. Today, the Dominican Rite may be used with the permission of the master of the order or the local provincial. Other orders have their specific rites with the same stipulations such as the Carmelites, Cistercians and Norbertines. The Carthusian Rite, however, is different and is celebrated as the norm by this congregation.

The Eastern Province of the Order of Preachers (Dominican Province of St. Joseph) has this beautiful reflection on the unique place of this Rite in their spirituality and rich heritage:

The Dominican Rite’s relative sobriety and simplicity likewise gives evidence of the antiquity of its sources.  It has nourished the greatest saints of the Order, many of whom – including St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Vincent Ferrer – have written extensively of the Dominican Rite’s unique beauty and theological depth.  It is therefore a genuine source of the tradition of the Order, and a privileged means by which to enter into the original spirit of St. Dominic’s friars.

To order a CD of Gregorian Chant: Dominican Liturgy, click here.

The Nine Postures of Prayer

On August 8th, the feast of of St. Dominic, Pope Benedict XVI gave a talk at Castel Gandolfo about Dominic’s life of prayer. He says, “He left behind no writings on prayer, but the Dominican tradition has collected and handed on his living experience in a work titled: The Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic. This book was composed between the year 1260 and 1288 by a Dominican friar. It helps us to understand something of the saint’s interior life, and it also helps us, as different as we are, to learn something about how to pray.”

Here are his nine ways of prayer:

1. Inclinations: Assume a humble posture before God, one that emphasizes your own lowliness before the greatness of God.
2. Prostrations: Lie face down before the altar of God reciting the verse from Saint Luke’s gospel (18:13): ‘Lord be merciful to me a sinner.’
3. Penance: Perform penance by disciplining yourself. Self-discipline is needed and vital to mature spiritual growth.
4. Genuflections: Remain before the altar looking at the Cross with frequent genuflections.
5. Contemplation: Stand before the altar in contemplation with the palms of your hands turned inwards. Then clasp your hands and raise them to your shoulders all the while in fervent prayer.
6. Earnest Intercession: Pray with arms outstretched in the form of a cross. Quote scripture appropriate to this posture.
7. Supplication: Standing erect stretch your whole body upwards with hands joined and raised towards heaven. Often Dominic would open his hands as though in receipt of something. Pray aloud saying: ‘Hear O God, the voice of my prayer when I pray to you, when I lift up my hands to your holy temple.’ (Psalm 27)
8. Thoughtful Reading: Of scripture or scripture commentary. Lose yourself both intellectually and emotionally in this reading, sometimes whispering questions posed in the text.
9. Praying on a Journey: While traveling, lose yourself in prayer, meditation and contemplation.
            Pope Benedict adds that the saint “reminds us of the importance of exterior attitudes in our prayer: kneeling, standing before the Lord, fixing one’s gaze on the Crucified, pausing to recollect oneself in silence are not secondary; rather, they help us to place ourselves interiorly, with the whole of our person, in relation to God.”