St Dominic

An eventful month

 We would like to share with our readers some of the joyful celebrations of this past month – you will then understand why we have not been attending to our blog! Newly Ordained celebrates Eucharist with us On the 22nd July, feast of St Mary Magdalen, Fr Paul Murphy who was recently ordained our diocese celebrated the Eucharist with us, and gave us his blessing.   Later we met with him and his parents in the parlour.  During the past year Fr Paul  came regularly to pray in our chapel while he was working in our parish as a deacon.   We   continue to support him with our prayer as he  soon begins ministry in Armagh cathedral.  We pray that many more young men may follow Paul’s example and dedicate their lives to the priesthood.   Fr Paul is pictured here with his parentsSilver Jubilee celebration On the 7th August we were happy to have fr John Harris OP with us to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Ordination.  Fr John had celebrated his first Mass with us in the old monastery on the Chord Road – so it was a great joy to have him with us on this joyful occasion 25 years later.  Sr Paula Mary had devoted many hours in designing and creating the stole which he is wearing in picture.  Being the eve of the feast of our holy Father St Dominic Fr John stayed so that we had solemn Vespers of the feast. Celebrating the Feast of St Dominic on 8th August It was a great joy for us to have our new coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin  celebrate the feast of St Dominic with us. He arrived in time for first Vespers and met the community later afterwards.  He stayed overnight and  on the feast of St Dominic he celebrated the […]

St Dominic’s Prayer for Others

A Reflection on St Dominic’s Prayer and concern for others. All of the accounts of St Dominic’s  life speak of his great passion for the salvation of others. A passion that found expression both in his preaching and in his prayers. This was something that impressed me when I was discerning my vocation – the energy and fervency of his prayer for the conversion of sinners. His frequent cry “what will become of sinners?”  This links into what I read in St Catherine of Siena’s “Dialogue”: when God the Father tells her that it is the love and desire with which she offers her prayers, penance and actions that is most important since only love is infinite. The main purpose of my life here is to offer worship to God and to pray for those who need our prayers. But looking at St Dominic’s life I see ever more clearly that my prayer must be passionate. To use a modern expresssion, I must be engaged by what I am praying for. I must know in my own heart the tragedy of those who turn from God and have that knowledge, that awareness, fuel my prayer. So that my prayer, like Dominic’s, will be earnest and fervent and will bear fruit for others.

Novena in preparation for the feast of St Dominic

 Today we being the novena in preparation for the feast of St Dominic – before Vespers each evening for the coming nine days we have a short reflection followed by the singing of the ‘O Spem’ – a prayer reminding St Dominic of his promise that he would be more helpful to his brothers and sisters after his death than when he was alive.  Readers of this blog might like to join us in praying to St Dominic during these days:O wonderful hope which you gave to those who wept for you at the hour of your death, that after your decease you would be helpful to your brethren.Fulfil Father what you have said and help us by your prayersYou 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.

Novena to St Dominic – Day 9

At the beginning of the Libellus – Blessed Jordan’s account of the beginnings of the Order, we read: “God’s Providence raised up the Order of Preachers as a remedy for the perils of these latter days.”   Other early biographical documents describe the world into which Dominic was born as a “world wrapped in darkness where the light was sinking” – where Dominic “shone like a new star” and as a “light that would illuminate with its beams the whole world”  – a light not just for his own time but has continued to shine, through the members of his Order, down to our own day when the darkness and confusion seem to grow even more intense and widespread. We are all part of that darkness through our own sinfulness, blindness and stubbornness.  Yet as Christians and followers of Dominic we are also called to be light in the midst of the darkness of our time.We notice that the darkness grows more intense as God seems to be increasingly forgotten and excluded from our society.  The remedy then is for us to become more aware of the all-encompassing Presence of God and to live our lives bathed in the light of that Presence – to radiate that presence to those around us as Dominic did.  Dominic we are told spoke only to God or about God – yet he was a wonderful companion to his brothers and sisters – always radiating compassion, gentleness and kindness.  In his recent letter to the Order fr Bruno reminded us that “the Divine Office, the sanctification of the hours, is an act of faith for us that, despite our failings, brings us always into the Presence of God.”  And he […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 8

Today’s liturgy leads us into the great mystery of the Transfiguration of our Lord, Jesus Christ. At Mass, we heard in the Gospel: “this is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him”. (Mk 9:8)Each line in the Scripture is an expression of the Eternal Father’s Word, calling us to LISTEN to that Word so that we might have “life in abundance” (Jn 10:10).Our entire existence is really a call to be a hearer and keeper of the Word of God. When we speak of hearing, it is FAITH first of all of which we speak. Thus ‘faith is the organ of hearing,’ and ‘believing and hearing the Word of God’ is one and the same.For me, St. Dominic is the best teacher of listening and obeying the Living Word.In the Legenda of St. Cecilia we are told “in the evening time, Dominic used to come to the sisters and give them a conference in his brethren’s presence, and he used to instruct them in the duties of the Order, for they had no other master than himself”. This one sentence from the first generation of the Order is rich in meaning, it tells us that Dominic took pains to make sure that the nuns received a good formation in the Order, it is also significant that Dominic preached to the nuns in the brethren’s presence, for it tells us that the brethren and the nuns are formed together to be of one mind and heart. The brethren and the nuns were to share the same vocation, striving for the goal of Preaching for the salvation of souls, yet each according to their particular expression.Dominic himself was formed by constant listening and reflection on the […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 7

Guy Bedouelle o.p. provided me with a starting point for my reflection on St Dominic. In his book ‘The grace of the Word’ he has this to say:When Dante called St Dominic “the passionate lover of the Christian Faith” he referred to the entire life of the Father of Preachers, to his unflagging eagerness to bear witness to this faith, to defend it and to transmit it. If St Dominic yearned to penetrate Catholic teaching through study, to be able to expound it in persuasive terms, if he aspired to affirm it in every way in order to “strengthen his brethren”, it was because his own faith was flawless and intense.”He goes on to say thatChrist is the centre of faith and its source. It is through Him that we embrace all that the Church believes. The theology of St. Dominic, if we may speak of the theology of one who left no written works, seems based entirely on Redemption through Christ, from which everything else in Christian teaching radiates.The Christ who had saved Dominic, this Jesus whom he contemplated, followed and preached was the Son of God, the Redeemer. When Dominic exhorted his brethren to prayer he said only this “Let us think of our Saviour” (Bolognia, 41)“Let us think of our Saviour.” Through this little phrase we see into the heart of Dominic and get an insight into the source from which all his apostolic zeal and activity flowed. Dominic’s eyes are ever on Jesus. “He spoke only to God or of God” we are told. Dominic always turns us towards Jesus; to make Jesus known and loved is his sole preoccupation. He spent his nights with Jesus in prayer and his […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 6

In reflecting on the life of St Dominic, in preparation for his Feast-day, I was struck once again by his passion for preaching, for the proclamation of the Gospel. For most of his adult life he longed to go and bring Christ to those pagans who had never heard the gospel. Although this was not possible, he founded his order in response to the Albigensian heresy, working tirelessly to proclaim the Truth, who is Christ, to those who had been deceived by falsehoods and half-truths. As Jordan of Saxony, Dominic’s successor, wrote, it was for “these innumerable souls who were deceived that they felt moved by deep compassion”. This is in marked contrast to an attitude sometimes encountered today: the idea that what matters is the sincerity of one’s beliefs not what is believed. At times this can go so far as thinking that people would be ‘better off’ not knowing, because once they are given the Gospel they will be obliged to ‘keep all the requirements’, and will fail and sin whereas at the moment they are not sinning because they don’t know. Thinking about this presented me with something of a jolt – to what extent are my own thoughts and actions influenced by this attitude? Do I see my faith as a collection of ‘requirements’, of “hard sayings” (Jn 6:60) and not what it truly is, what St Dominic lived and proclaimed: the Good News! The greatest news I could possibly bring to another person – our redemption; the invitation to share, even now, in the inner life of the Trinity; the chance to know Christ, to live in and with Him, most especially in that most intimate communion when we […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 5

A Reflection on St Dominic and Prayer, given by one of our sisters, for the fifth day of our Novena to St DominicTaken from the book, “St Dominic” by Alain Quilici, O.P.It is said that saints are most in tune with their sinfulness and the sinfulness of the world. They are, like Dominic, so close to the Lord that they feel his great pain at this sinful world, and are pained to the deepest parts of their being as well. Dominic suffered with the Lord because he united himself with the one who united God and mankind. Jesus Christ, in his passion, gave himself totally to the Father for love of us; Dominic follows this path, seeking the suffering of the passion as a path to deeper union to and an expression of love for Jesus Christ.Dominic contemplated the crucifix with an incomparable penetration – his prayer tends to be united with Christ’s prayer. It becomes identified with the passion of the Lord Jesus: his passion for his Father, his passion for the salvation of mankind, his loving passion and his painful passion. The summit of Jesus’ prayer is his prayer on the cross, this prayer about which we know only a few fragments, a few cries, but about which we presume is filled with immeasurable love. Dominic had the grace to perceive something from Jesus’ prayer of agony. His sons and daughters are invited to participate in the grace of communion with Jesus’ sacrifice. For this sacrifice does not come freely. It is the price that is paid for the salvation of souls. Not the price that God requires, but the price that each of us should pay in order to show what part one […]

Novena to St Dominic -Day 4

As we draw nearer to the feast of St Dominic, I have been thinking again about how he is in a sense a ‘mysterious’ and ‘obscure’ kind of saint: so much has been written in an attempt to make him known, while he wrote so very little himself – his ‘words’ are the sisters and brothers he gathered together into the Order of Preachers; the souls he won for the Lord Who was his most intimate friend.I considered what a great legacy he left, in leaving so ‘little,’ because he thus can be a saint everyone can truly know and have as a close friend; and when we see the diversity within the Order: how he founded an Order that has room for every one – we can be moved to a wonderful sense of gratitude to our eternal Father, for blessing St Dominic with that certainty and confidence in Him, that He can and does make us one, who are so very different and distinct.I wondered where would be a good place to come to know St Dominic, and in reading his ‘fourth way of prayer,’ it seemed that here is the answer.In this way of prayer, Dominic ‘either before the altar or in the Chapter Room, with his eyes fixed on the crucifix, would contemplate it with indescribable intensity.  He would make numerous genuflections before it. … After such prayers he was filled with great trust in the mercy of God for himself, for all sinners and for the preservation of the younger brethren whom he was sending out into the world to preach the Gospel to souls.  He was sometimes unable to refrain from breaking into speech, repeating words of the […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 3

Pondering on the various virtues attributed to St. Dominic in the Hymn ‘O Lumen’ sung each evening in his honour by all his children throughout the world, I was drawn to the title ‘Rose of Patience’, this is a virtue in which most of us need encouragement from time to time, if not all the time! There are so many facets associated with this vibrant virtue. Making the effort with God’s ever present help, to be patient in our daily dealings with one another and in the various situations that occur each day, is already an important beginning – but there is of course, a much deeper level to this beautiful virtue to which God calls us, of which St. Dominic gave such ample evidence in his own humble life. Witnesses at his canonisation mention repeatedly in one way or another – that he was a man of patience, of humility, compassion, encouragement, cheerfulness, obedience, to name but a few, all so closely linked with patience. But, we may ask why ‘Rose of Patience?’ – what is the connection? Roses symbolise ‘love’. Love and patience are two words closely associated – St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians: ‘Love is patient’ – we cannot have true patience without love and we cannot have true love without patience. Patience is also linked to obedience – ‘the sign that thou hast this virtue of obedience’ said the eternal Father to St. Catherine, ‘is patience’. All these virtues shine forth so brightly in the life of our father, Dominic, and invite or rather, urge us to imitation. So how does one learn to cultivate this most necessary virtue? It cannot be achieved by sheer will-power alone […]