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Novena

Novena to St Dominic – Day 5

One of the things that strikes me about Dominic is his openness to God鈥檚 will and his willingness to take the step he sees in faith without a clear vision of where it will finally lead. As Augusta Drane says in her account of his life:鈥淗is call was not sudden, or miraculous, or even extraordinary; it was that which is the likeliest to come to people like ourselves; particular impressions of mind were given just at the time when circumstances combined together gradually to develop the way in which those impressions could be carried out. He was always being led forward, not knowing there whither he went. As sub-prior of Osma he probably saw nothing before him but the ordinary community life of the cathedral chapter. Then came the journey to Denmark, on a mission whose ostensible object was a failure, but whose real end in the design of […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 4

From “On the Beginnings of the Order of Preachers” by Jordan of Saxony OP:Far more impressive and splendid than all his miracles, though, wre the exceptional intergity of his character and the extraordinary energy of divine zeal which carried him along; these proved beyond all doubt that he was a vessel of honour and grace, adorned with every kind of “precious stone”. Hi mind was always steady and calm, except when he was stirred by a feeling of compassion and mercy; and, since a happy heart makes for a cheerful face, the tranquil composure of the inner man was revealed outwardly by the kindliness and cheerfulness of his expression. He never allowed himself to become angry. In every reasonable purpose his mind conceived, in accordance with God’s will, he maintained such constancy that he hardly ever, if ever, consented to change any plan which he had formulated with due […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 3

Dominic and PrayerThe Nine Ways of Prayer of St Dominic was written by an anonymous author, probably at Bologna, sometime between 1260 and 1288. The source of his information was Sr Cecilia of the Monastery of St Agnes at Bologna (who had been received to the habit by St Dominic) and others who had been in contact with the Holy Founder. This venerable document testifies to the eminent holiness of the Saint, showing something of his intimate life and intense love of God.The Fourth Way of PrayerSt Dominic would remain before the altar or in the chapter room with his gaze fixed on the Crucified One, looking upon Him with perfect attention. He genuflected frequently, again and again. He would continue sometimes from after Compline until midnight, now rising, now kneeling again, like the Apostle St James, or the leper of the gospel who said on bended knee: “Lord, […]

Novena to St. Dominic – Day 2

Reflecting on the life, character and example of St. Dominic during this Novena and simultaneously aware of the Mass Readings this morning focusing so strongly on the Eucharist, I was struck again, as I have been before, on how deeply St. Dominic seemed to have understood the extraordinary mystery of the Eucharist. We know this from several witnesses who gave testimonies at the process of canonization-for example:Brother Bonvisus said: 鈥淪ometimes I served his Mass. I would then watch his expression, and I used to see so many tears running down his face that the drops ran in a stream.鈥滲rother Stephen testified 鈥 that very frequently he saw him celebrate Mass, and noticed that his eyes and cheeks were wet with tears during the Canon. It was quite easy for those present to perceive this devotion from his great fervour during Mass and the way that he said […]

Novena to St Dominic, Day One

In reflecting on St Dominic, as we approach his Feast Day on the 8th August, I was impressed by something Simon Tugwell, O.P. wrote in his introduction to Bl Jordan of Saxony’s “Libellus”. He wrote, In the ‘Libellus’, Jordan shows us how the Order of Preachers arose, not simply as the brainchild of one man, Dominic, but as a providential response to the needs of the time … If it was, in fact, Dominic who actually brought the Order to birth, he did not create it out of nothing. The church was ready and waiting for it, and there were people waiting to join it even before it existed. …”The relationship between Dominic and his Order cannot be understood simply in terms of some uniquely inventive capacity in Dominic himself. Essentially he is the father of the Order because he gave it its job to do, […]

Novena in preparation for the Feast of St Dominic

Today the 30th of July we begin the Novena of prayer in preparation for the feast of St Dominic which we will celebrate on the 8th of August.In our community each evening before Vespers there is a short reflection Prepared by one of the sisters which is followed by the singing of what we Dominicans call the ‘O Spem’- a kind of national anthem for the Order. Here is an English translation:O wonderful Hope which you gave to those who wept for you at the hour of your death, promising that after your decease you would be helpful to your brethren. Fulfil Father what you have said and help us by your prayers.You shone on the bodies of the sick by so many miracles, bring us the help of Christ to heal our sick souls.Fulfil Father what you have said and help us by your prayers.V.Blessed Father Dominic […]

Novena to St Catherine of Siena

As promised we share here some of Catherine’s writings on which we are reflecting during these days of preparation for her feast on the 29th.The following is an extract from a letter addressed to Fr Bartolomeo Dominici, in Florence in 1375: (taken from Suzanne Noffke’s translation of Catherine’s letters, Vol I)I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ am writing to encourage you in the precious blood of God’s Son. I long to see you set afire, swallowed up and consumed in His blazing charity, for we know that those who are set afire and consumed in that true charity lose all self-consciousness. That is what I want you to do.I am inviting you, in this blazing charity, to plunge into a peaceful sea, a deep sea. I have just rediscovered the sea – not that the sea is new, but it […]

Novena to St Dominic

Today we begin our Novena in preparation for the feast of our holy father Dominic on the 8th August. During the coming 9 days we invite our readers to join in prayer with us. Before Vespers each evening we sing the following 鈥 known in Latin as the O Spem 鈥 the equivalent of a national anthem for Dominicans!! O wonderful hope which you gave to those who wept for you at the hour of your death, promising that after your death you would be helpful to your brothers and sisters; Fulfil Father what you have said and help us by your prayerYou shone on the bodies of the sick by so many miracles, bring us the help of Christ to heal our sick souls;Fulfil Father what you have said and help us by your prayer.We offer here for your reflection the main points of a letter, […]

St Catherine of Siena – Novena Day 9

From a letter of St Catherine to Frate Tommaso dalla Fonte鈥.Dearest Father, I beg you to fulfil my longing to see you united with and transformed in God. But this is impossible unless we are one with His Will. Oh sweetest eternal Will, to have taught us how to discover your holy Will! If we were to ask that gentlest most loving young man and most merciful father, this is how he would answer us: 鈥淒earest children, if you wish to discover and experience the effects of My will, dwell within the cell of your soul鈥. This cell is a well in which there is earth as well as water. In the earth we can recognise our own poverty: we see that we are not – for we are not. We see that our being is from God. Oh ineffable blazing charity! […]

St Catherine of Siena – Novena Day 8

The Eternal Father speaks to Catherine:I have told you how tears well up from the heart: The heart gathers them up from its burning desire and holds them out to the eyes. Just as green wood, when it is put into the fire, weeps tears of water in the heat because it is still green (for if it were dry it would not weep), so does the heart weep when it is made green again by the renewal of grace, after the desiccating dryness of selfishness has been drawn out of the soul. Thus are fire and tears made one in burning desire. And because desire has no end it cannot be satisfied in this life. Rather, the more it loves, the less it seems to itself to love. So love exerts a holy longing, and with that longing the eyes weep.But once the soul is separated from the […]