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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 among whom he laboured.

 

Among his numerous virtues spoken of again and again by those who knew him and by those who bore witness to his life under oath at his canonisation process, his virtue as a man of encouragement, in one form or another,聽 shines especially brightly 鈥 鈥楧ominic was compassionate and consoled people in time of temptation, he was a source of strength (or we can say a source of encouragement) to all鈥.

 

In this day and age the need for encouragement for every person at one time or another, is more needful than ever before, St. Paul himself reminds us in his letter to the Colossians (col.3:16)) 鈥 鈥楲et the Word of Christ in all its richness dwell in you 鈥︹. encourage each other鈥.

By abiding in God鈥檚 encouraging Word speaking in our hearts聽 we […]

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 or listening to. To give an example, if at a lecture I am slouched and looking off out the window my body is telling my mind not to pay attention. If, on the other hand, I sit up straight, keep eye contact and watch expectantly, my body is telling my mind to pay attention.

Our bodily prayer postures act in a similar way: blessing ourselves as we enter a Church reminds us that we are entering a holy place and is also a sort of trigger (as is kneeling) that we are about to pray (like the way insomniacs are advised to develop a 鈥榩re-bed鈥 physical routine that will trigger the mind to prepare to sleep). Similarly, genuflecting before the tabernacle is the bodily expression that Jesus (God) is truly present here. Kneeling and prostration likewise […]

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, he already appeared to be a man specially gifted for prayer:

Night and day, like the olive tree that produces fruit or the cypress that reaches to the heavens, he used the floor of the church, devoting his time to contemplation, never appearing to leave the monastery. God had given him the special grace of prayer for sinners, the poor, the afflicted: he carried their maladies in the intimate sanctuary of his compassion; and the tears that came boiling from his eyes manifested the ardour of the feelings that burned within him. It was his habit to spend his nights in prayer. With the door closed, he prayed to his Father. During and at the end of his prayers, he uttered moans which came from his heart. He couldn鈥檛 hold back, and these cries, coming spontaneously, […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 2: The paradox of the Cross

鈥淔or everything there is a season,

and a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; 鈥

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; 鈥

A time to mourn, and a time to dance; 鈥

A time to love, and a time to hate 鈥︹ 聽(Ecclesiastes, cf 3:1-9)

 

There is never, however, a time to despair,

and no matter how challenging or God-less the time in which we find ourselves seems to be,

we are called at all times to be creatures of hope.

St Dominic鈥檚 time was not more desperate than ours, yet more than anything it could be said of him that he was a man of hope because of his amazing confidence in God and of his reverence for the length to which Christ went, in order to save us.

The paradox of the Cross:

A place of failure and of triumph;

A place of horror and also of indescribable love.

Pope St John Paul II frequently spoke and wrote of JESUS as the answer to all the questions man seeks an answer to, in order the better to know and understand himself and how to be human.

We could say that the shape of all the answers we seek, is the shape of the Cross.聽 鈥 鈥 鈥 Difficult to gaze upon, and difficult to understand, and extremely difficult to reconcile with love 鈥 especially with divine love.聽 It is, nevertheless, the shape of all the answers we seek, and St Dominic knew and understood this so well, from the many hours he spent contemplating it. For the Cross is, among other things, also the shape of wisdom, which, when we put it on, becomes the shape of the freedom which is so […]

Our New Card Catalogue is now available

Our Card Catalogue for 2018/19 is now available. It features a number of new cards; including, to mark the celebration of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin this August, a ‘Holy Family Icon Card’ by one of our Sisters.
Please click here to download the full catalogue.

‘Who touched me?’ – A reflection on today’s Gospel

鈥淲ho touched me?鈥 (Mk聽 5:31)
Seeing this wonderful cross in the sky above our monastery reminded me of these thoughts in Pope Benedict鈥檚 鈥楽pe Salvi鈥 (par. 27-28):

Whoever is touched by love begins to perceive what 鈥渓ife鈥 really is. He begins to perceive the meaning of the word of hope that we encountered in the Baptismal Rite: from faith I await 鈥渆ternal life鈥濃攖he true life which, whole and unthreatened, in all its fullness, is simply life. Jesus, who said that he had come so that we might have life and have it in its fullness, in abundance (cf.聽Jn聽10:10), has also explained to us what 鈥渓ife鈥 means: 鈥渢his is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent鈥 (Jn聽17:3). Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we 鈥渓ive鈥.

Yet now the question arises: are we not in this way falling back once again into an individualistic understanding of salvation, into hope for myself alone, which is not true hope since it forgets and overlooks others? Indeed we are not! Our relationship with God is established through communion with Jesus鈥攚e cannot achieve it alone or from our own resources alone. The relationship with Jesus, however, is a relationship with the one who gave himself as a ransom for all (cf.聽1 Tim聽2:6). Being in communion with Jesus Christ draws us into his 鈥渂eing for all鈥; it makes it our own […]

The Visitation of Our Lady to St Elizabeth

Today is the Feastday of two of the most courageous women who have ever lived.

Today is the feast of the inviolable dignity of motherhood.

Today is a feast of the celebration of the beauty and the gift of womanhood 鈥 and all that it can be.

Today, in the Church, we rejoice and share in the joy of the whole host of heaven, at the visitation of Our Lady to St Elizabeth.

Picture it:

A young girl and an old woman: both of whom are offered and accept the gift of motherhood in the most extraordinary and incredible circumstances.聽 Who could believe that it should be God鈥檚 will to allow these two 鈥 Mary and Elizabeth 鈥 to be subjected to the scorn and derision of neighbours and community who may well have been scandalized at what had happened to them.聽 And all for the sake of His glory?

Behold, Mary.

Until this point in her life, she had been a precious and beloved child of her parents.聽 They trusted her implicitly; delighted in her goodness; were impressed by the depth of her faith and the way that her friendship with God guided all her actions 鈥 so much so that even defined her.聽 It was a joy and a privilege for Saints Joachim and Anne to be her parents.聽 She was truly a gift to them from God.

And now this.

A child 鈥 little more than a child 鈥 with a plan and a dream for her life, in an instant taken from her.聽 What will people say?聽 How they will talk!聽 And when they hear how it happened 鈥 鈥 鈥

Behold, Elizabeth.

An old woman.聽 Her dream all her married life; her hope and that of Zechariah was that their […]

Through the window of a Dominican Monastery

Last month there was a little reflection on the beginning of our Constitutions.聽 A further word on it this month seems like a good idea and given the way the world is turning so rapidly from faith and from God 鈥 it seems even necessary to pose a question or two about the same article.

We are called to 鈥榣ive in harmony 鈥︹

The question is:聽 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Do we in fact know how to live?

Do you know how to live?

Do you have a desire to actually live rather than merely exist?

Entering a monastery is a real 鈥榮hock to the system鈥 鈥 especially in today鈥檚 world (which sounds a bit like a clich茅).聽 Nevertheless, so it is.聽 No iPhones, or smart-phones or ready access to social media 鈥 no radio or television except occasionally.

What are the benefits of that?聽 It鈥檚 a very relevant question for people who spend so many hours a day tuned into what people are saying 鈥榮ocially鈥 or 鈥榲irtually.鈥

What do you discover when you turn off the noise; and stop filling your head with technological, non-stop communication?聽 What might happen?

Maybe 鈥 and in fact it is something that we here would all agree on.聽 TRUTH.聽 If there鈥檚 one thing you can be sure of, when you give yourself to the Lord in quiet and seeming emptiness (remember it actually isn鈥檛 emptiness) the truth bubbles up and speaks to you.

We are nuns of the Order of Truth 鈥 Veritas is our motto 鈥 so we bear witness in our silence and by our lives that TRUTH MATTERS.聽 More than that, it can be known and lived.聽 You can live the truth.聽 And the invitation is that you neither have to, nor are you expected to […]

A Window into Our Life

Welcome to a new 鈥榝eature鈥 on our web-site 鈥

 

We shall call it a 鈥榃indow into the Life of a Dominican Nun,鈥 in a rather loose way.

 

Through this 鈥榳indow,鈥 we hope to give you an idea of what the life of a contemplative nun of the Order of Preachers consists in; to offer some food for thought; maybe also help you to encounter God in a more personal way; and to help any young women who might be discerning a vocation, to understand better who we are and whether how we live, is how they also seek to live, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

 

The beginning of our Constitutions shows how we are so closely connected to our brothers and sisters in the Dominican Family:

鈥溾 the first reason for which we are gathered together in community

is to live in harmony, having one mind and heart in God.

This unity transcends the limits of the monastery and attains its fullness in

communion with the Order and with the whole Church of Christ.鈥

 

One mind and one heart in God.聽 It is a rare, rare gift, to live in a community where everyone is intent on loving the Lord with every fibre of their being, especially in a world in which He is for the most part 鈥榓n inconvenience鈥 and unwelcome.聽 But here we are, with like-minded and like-hearted sisters, and we each share the same fundamental and consuming desire:

That the Lord may be loved; and that everyone on earth might come to know Him and the immensity of His love for them.

Preparing our Paschal Candle

The Paschal Candle: The Light of Christ

During the Easter Vigil, the Church reads the account of creation as a prophecy. In the resurrection, we see the most sublime fulfilment of what this text describes as the beginning of all things. God says once again: 鈥楲et there be light!鈥 The resurrection of Jesus is an eruption of light. Death is conquered, the tomb is thrown open. The Risen One himself is Light, the Light of the world. With the resurrection, the Lord鈥檚 day enters the nights of history. Beginning with the resurrection, God鈥檚 light spreads throughout the world and throughout history. Day dawns. This Light alone 鈥 Jesus Christ 鈥 is the true light, something more than the physical phenomenon of light. He is pure Light: God himself, who causes a new creation to be born in the midst of the old, transforming chaos into cosmos. (Pope Benedict XVI)

 

The Cross 鈥 鈥淭he cross was the first Christian altar, where the first sacrifice was made鈥 (Pope Francis)

Christ yesterday and today; the Beginning and the End

Many of us today do not know God and cannot find him in the crucified Christ. Many are in search for a love, or a liberty, that excludes God. Let us open our hearts to him, Jesus is the truth that makes us free to love.

On the cross the Redeemer has restored to us the dignity that belonged to us, has made us adoptive sons and daughters of God whom he has created in his image and likeness.

 

 

Fear Not!

The Alpha and Omega

The paschal candle represents our Risen Lord.

The Greek letters Apha above the cross and Omega below 鈥 the first and the last letters of the greek alphabet 鈥 show […]