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novena

Novena to St Dominic – Day 8

I
would like to reflect a little on St Dominic鈥檚 single-mindedness in his pursuit
of holiness and his mission of preaching.

As
a young man Dominic studied the liberal arts at a thriving arts faculty in
Palencia 鈥 no doubt, a brilliant future awaited him!  However, Bl Jordan tells us, very graphically,
that after a short while, Dominic 鈥渇led to the study of theology as if afraid
to waste his limited time on less fruitful study.鈥  We might ask ourselves if he had struggled
with himself to give up the study of arts? 鈥 for he had a keen intellect and
could have persuaded himself that this could be helpful for his own future
human and spiritual development.  But one
senses through the pages of the Libellus
that something deeper was drawing him or rather Someone who demanded that he
leave all aside, even good things and focus all his attention on the 鈥榦ne thing
necessary.鈥  Bl Jordan describes
Dominic鈥檚 鈥渆agerness to imbibe the […]

Novena to St. Dominic – Day 7

We
continue our Novena in honour of St Dominic

Every
saint resembles Christ in some way. This was particularly clear with Dominic
who followed Jesus in everything – in his prayer, works and miracles. 

Like
his Master, Dominic used to spend the nights in prayer to God; he would fall
asleep with his head on the altar step when he was too exhausted to continue.
St Dominic spent his life preaching the Gospel and being constantly concerned
for the salvation of the human race.

In today鈥檚 Gospel passage the gestures of Jesus as
he multiplies the loaves and fishes 鈥渢aking (the loaves)鈥, 鈥渂lessing鈥,
鈥渂reaking鈥 鈥済iving鈥 echoes the Eucharistic narrative. The disciples believed
that their only option was to send the crowd away and to find food elsewhere.
They focussed on what they lacked. But Jesus had a different perspective. His
Faith was in God鈥檚 power to look after the spiritual and material welfare of
the people gathered around him.  As we share
in our daily […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 6

St. Dominic鈥檚 Compassion

As we continue our Novena to St Dominic, I would like to reflect on St. Dominic鈥檚 compassion for others. On his Feast Day, this Thursday, we will sing the Antiphon:

鈥淒ominic had compassion on his neighbours and ardently desired their salvation.鈥

Dominic鈥檚 compassion was not passive, not accepting
and encouraging the other in whatever it is they want to do, which seems to be
the modern understanding of compassion. His compassion required that he act for
the good of the other, even, or perhaps especially, when that meant telling
them they were doing wrong. It was out of this compassion that he established
his Order (for preaching and the salvation of souls) to bring back to God those
who had been led astray by the false, dark vision of God and the world
presented by the Albigensians (who taught, among other things, that the
material world, including human bodies, was evil, created by an evil spirit). […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 5

O Wonderful Hope!  

The lands of sunrise and sunsetYou fill with your joy. (Ps64)

I hope you may hear sometimes how beautifully the birds are singing at early morning. Their singing does not create the dawn, but they are singing because the sun has risen.

At sunset when our world is wrapped in darkness, St Dominic鈥檚 daughters and sons are also singing: “O Spem miram” (O Wonderful Hope).

What they do hope
for?

We sing because CHRIST
IS RISEN!

 Like Mary Magdalena we hope to meet our Risen
Lord face to face, and 鈥榯o know the power of his resurrection鈥.

鈥楾o see God鈥
really means to share in his life, to enjoy his plenitude, to penetrate into
the depth of his life, to be with him, to live in his presence.

Similarly the expression 鈥榯o know鈥 in biblical usage does not mean a purely intellectual process, but the union of two beings in love. We read in Genesis ‘Now Adam […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 3

St Dominic and the Imperative of Joy

A Benedictine nun wrote:

          鈥淚 continue to believe in the efficacy of the contemplative life          which acts as a lever to raise the human heart to           truth, goodness and beauty.鈥

From 鈥淭he Joy of God:  Collected Writings of Sr Mary David.鈥 p.125  

It seems odd in a reflection
during our novena to St Dominic, to take inspiration from a 鈥榝oreigner,鈥 so to
speak.  Nevertheless, she did seem to
capture very well, in that short expression, something of the validity of
contemplative life 鈥 if it needs validity: an answer to many who cannot
comprehend such a vocation.

And in his letter to the nuns
of the Order, away back in 1971, fr Anicetus Fernandez 鈥 then Master of the
Order of Preachers 鈥 observed that

鈥榯his contemplative life, the 鈥渂est part鈥 of the Christian life, has always held a most important place in the Church and the Order, but […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 1

Our Altar with ‘Dominican Candles’

Today we start our Novena to St. Dominic. As we know, St. Dominic always spoke either to God or about God. Since we are about to talk to God, I would like to let Meister Eckhart O.P. talk about God for me:

God is a light shining in
itself in silent stillness. God is not in any place 鈥 God is not here, or
there, not in time or place.

God is better than anything
we can conceive: I say, God is somewhat, I know not what, verily I know not. He
is all that is being rather than not being, existent more than non-existent;
our highest aspirations are but groveling things falling hopelessly short of
God. He transcends heart鈥檚 desire.

鈥 God is a word, an unspoken
word. Augustine says: 鈥淎ll
scripture is vain.鈥 We say that God is unspoken, but he is unspeakable. Grant he
is somewhat: who can pronounce this word? None but the […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 6: Exploring an Icon of St Dominic

Every one of us is a living icon of God. He created us in his likeness and in his own image.

As you can see, this Icon of St. Dominic is not yet finished. At first I was disappointed not to have completed it in time for his Feast. Then it occurred to me that there was a message for me in this. Like this icon each one of us is not quite finished. We are still on a journey from darkness into the light. It is my hope that the image of St Dominic portrayed or perhaps more accurately, revealed to us through this icon may help us to enter the hidden, inner sanctuary of his heart and there discover more deeply the depths of our Dominican vocation—WHAT WE SHOULD LOOK LIKE.

The first portrait of St. Dominic was a word picture given to us by St. Cecilia, one of […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 7: St Dominic a man of encouragement

On this 7th day of our Novena in honour of St. Dominic, I would like to share just a few thoughts on St. Dominic as a man of Encouragement.

鈥淲hen your words came, I devoured them, your Word was my delight and the joy of my heart鈥 (Jr.15:16).

How aptly this Scripture text from the prophet Jeremiah can be applied to O.H.F. Dominic 鈥 we can just see him in our mind鈥檚 eye, contemplating from the depth of his heart with great joy and exultation, this Scripture jewel,聽 overwhelmed as he always was, with an immense love of Holy Scripture.

鈥楧ominic showed himself a man of the Gospel in word and deed鈥, we are told by those who knew him.

With his deep spirit of unceasing prayer and with the Gospel as his weapon, he聽 was fired with zeal to be an apostle of encouragement among his Nuns, his Friars and all those […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 5: St Dominic and Body Language

My reflection is on the significance and importance of bodily posture in St Dominic鈥檚 prayer. As we know from the 鈥楴ine Ways of Prayer,鈥 St Dominic used his whole body when he prayed: bowing, prostration, reaching up to heaven.

It struck me as odd that in our time, when there is so great an awareness of the importance of body language in interpersonal communication and of how much of what is communicated is through bodily posture etc., that there should be such a widespread dismissal of any significance of our bodily posture when we pray. It is said that bodily posture doesn鈥檛 matter because God looks at the heart.

I think that this ignoring of bodily posture gives rise to a number of problems, largely because it fails to consider the impact that my body language has on my own perception of, and response to, the person that I am talking […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 3: Dominic a man of prayer

As we continue the novena to our Father St Dominic, I鈥檇 like to read an extract from the book 鈥15 Days of Prayer with Saint Dominic鈥 by Alain Quilici O.P.

 

All of those who knew Dominic, either from near or far, as close friends of just acquaintances, attested to the intensity of his prayers. Dominic prayed like he breathed. He was not one of those who had time to write books, not even books on prayer, he just prayed. He spent the majority of his time in prayer. He entered into a state of prayer as naturally and rapidly as others fell asleep. To spontaneously fall asleep is a childhood grace. Dominic was a child according to the gospel, a child who dove into prayer whenever he had a moment, most especially during the night. For him, the night was made for prayer.

Even when he was just a young religious, […]