Reflections (Dominican)

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Novena to St Catherine - Day One

Join us in our Novena to St Catherine of Siena as we prepare to celebrate her Feast Day on April 29.

"There is something wonderful about saints meeting saints. From time to time, these precious occurrences seem to capture the imagination until they grow into tremendous legends."

(Artwork: St. Catherine of Siena by Fr. Henry Flanagan, O.P., Monastery of St Catherine of Siena, Drogheda)

Novena to St Dominic - Day 8

The feast of the Transfiguration is a celebration of God’s revelation. The glory of God that was veiled in the law and prophets - from Moses to Elijah - is now unveiled before the Church,to the apostles and us who receive their message.
‘Christ, during his earthly life, was always resplendent with the divine light, which remained invisible for most men.The Transfiguration was not a phenomenon circumscribed in time and space, no change took place in Christ at that moment, even in his human nature, but a change was produced in the consciousness of the apostles, who received for a moment the ability to see their Master as He was, resplendent in the eternal light of his divinity’. (V. Lossky)

Novena to St Dominic - Day 7

One of the mottos of the Dominican Order is “Truth.” St Dominic founded the Order to preach the truth about the goodness and beauty of God’s creation and Christ’s saving Incarnation in response to the heresy of his time, which taught that the created physical world was evil and that abortion, murder and suicide were therefore good acts.

Dominic’s knowledge of the truth flowed from his intense prayer and contemplation of the Scriptures: “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn 8:31-32)

Novena to St Dominic - Day 6

I would like to focus this reflection on St Dominic as a man of prayer.

Jordan of Saxony tells us in the Libellus that Dominic was familiar with Cassian’s Conferences, and that they were among his favourite reading. From Cassian we learn that humility, simplicity and charity are the foundations of all prayer. St. Dominic practised all these to a heroic degree.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 4

An extract from the testimony of Bro. Buonviso, a witness in the canonization process of our Holy Father St Dominic.

The fourth sworn witness was brother Buonviso of the Order of Preachers. He was with the blessed Dominic, as he says, at Bologna, in the cloister of St. Nicholas, and at Rome and at Milan and he looked after him when he was ill. So he said that when the brethren left the church in the evening to go and rest, the blessed Dominic used to remain secretly in the church to pray,

Novena to St Dominic - Day 3

One of the sayings of St Catherine of Siena, which is quite well known, is

“Be what you are called to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

It is unceasingly amazing that this Order of Preachers, enriched through many centuries by the wisdom and teaching of saints like Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Vincent Ferrer; the beauty of Blessed Angelico; the humility of St Martine de Porres – and countless others, known and known to God, was established by St Dominic, who left little behind by way of writing – little enough that he could so easily have passed into obscurity and been forgotten within a few generations of his death.

And yet he didn’t. By his life, his love and his understanding of the grace he received from God, he was truly a fire-starter.
Here we are, over 800 years later, thanking God for His gift to us of this simple man, who simply loved God and was utterly absorbed in Him.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 1

Today is the 1st day of our novena to our Holy Father St Dominic and we know Dominic's answer to his brothers who were weeping and sad at his departing from them. he gave them the marvellous assurance that he would be more help to them from |Heaven than when here on earth. So during the next 9 days we can approach our Father Dominic with great confidence and trust that he will hear and answer our prayer.

Dominic's biographers tell us he imitated our Lord and our Lady in so many ways in his life, especially in his spirit of poverty. I will say a few words about that subject.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 3

Dominic on his deathbed bequeathed to his brethren, as their rightful inheritance, his last will and testament saying: “have charity, guard humility and possess voluntary poverty.” This was the path which led him to holiness and he was and is inviting us his sons and daughters to imitate him as he imitated his Saviour, Christ Jesus.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 2

After a long preaching tour in Northern Italy, brother Dominic falls gravely ill in Bologna. It is July 1221, and the town is so stifling, humid and hot that there is no hope of improvement for Dominic’s health. The decision is made to carry Dominic to a small Benedictine hermitage on the hillside outside Bologna.

As he feared being buried in the Benedictine monastery where he had stayed, he begged to be carried anew among his brethren. Once he was back in town and settled in one of the convent’s cells, he was asked whether he wished to be buried next to the relics of this or that saint. Dominic gave this superb answer: “God forbid that I be buried except under the feet of my brethren.”

Novena to St Dominic - Day 1

As Dominicans we treasure what few writings Dominic has left us and those words of his of which there is a record, especially his last words. As Nuns of the Order we hold dear his letter to the nuns in Madrid, but there are two words in particular which should be written on our hearts and woven into the very fabric of our beings and it is on these two words that I would like to reflect this evening.

Novena to St Catherine - Day 7

I was wondering recently if there are Anam Cara’s in Heaven? Maybe! Why Not!
And if some of our prophets from the Old Testament may have already been drawn towards Meister Eckhart & Catherine of Siena and indeed to our modern day mystics----- a meeting of very different cultures ------different languages etc. And yet we know that heart language speaks louder than the spoken word.
Let us have a look at a quote from Meister Eckhart.
“We have within us a nameless transcendent depth which we call the ground of the Soul. The ground is a kind of hollow chamber, an empty space in which the Word can be spoken “

I think Eckhart would understand Catherine when she prays in her own inimitable way.

Novena to St Catherine - Day 6

When we reflect on the life of St. Catherine of Siena, we are struck by the depth of her contemplative prayer united with her unbelievable apostolic zeal amid her own personal spiritual and physical suffering. Having lived a solitary life of contemplation for some years, the Holy Spirit led Catherine to understand that the love of God cannot be separated from serving others. ...

Novena to St Catherine - Day 5

As we continue our novena in honour of St Catherine during this time of pandemic ask her to intercede for all the needs of our Church and our world at this present time. Indeed the state of the Church and world in Catherine’s day was no different – schism in the Church, the Black Death, factions among various states etc. Yet Catherine never lost sight of God’s infinite Mercy as is evident from the following passage from The Dialogue:

Novena to St Dominic - Day 8

It is a happy coincidence that the Feast of the Transfiguration occurs during the Novena to St. Dominic. Because I was thinking about the Mystery of the Transfiguration I was more alert to some elements of Dominic’s life than I might otherwise have been. Two things in particular caught my attention. In St. Dominic’s nine ways of prayer there is the following observation, to quote:
At other times he, Dominic, would remain quietly on his knees, his mind caught up in wonder, and this sometimes lasted a long time. Sometimes it seemed from the way he looked that he had penetrated heaven in his mind, and then he would suddenly appear radiant with joy, wiping away the abundant tears running down his face.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 5

I think that all of us privileged to belong to St. Dominic’s family have a great love for the hymn that concludes our Liturgy at nightfall – “The O Lumen”- after joyfully praising our father Dominic as LIGHT of the Church and Doctor of TRUTH, we move on to highlight him as ROSE OF PATIENCE.

There are so many facets associated with this vibrant virtue of patience –but we may ask why “Rose of patience” – what is the connection?

Novena to St Dominic - Day 4

In recent weeks I have been asking myself what does it mean when we say “I give my life to the Lord”? Yes I’m sure that we all want to give Him our ALL – after all this was the guiding light which led us to the monastery. But how do I give my ALL? If I focus my attention on my giving I can become very discouraged and perhaps there is a danger that I can become oblivious to what the Lord wants to give me? Ultimately the Lord is seeking our hearts to possess them in such a way that He can pray his prayer and radiate His love in and through us. Once He has our hearts we can trust Him to do that rest

Novena to St Dominic - Day 3

As we continue our short reflections on St Dominic in our Novena, I would like to say a word on St Dominic and Prayer. The following lines from the psalms are significant:
"I have called to you Lord: hasten to help me! Hear my voice when I cry to you;
Lord let my prayer rise before you like incense,
The raising of my hands like an evening oblation." (Ps 14:1-2)
This sums up for me so well St Dominic's prayer.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 2

As we continue our Novena to St Dominic, I would like to share an extract from the book "15 Days with St Dominic" by Alain Quilici O.P.

It was from the gospel that Saint Dominic drew the ardor for his preaching. He had received it from his predecessors, tranmitted it to his brothers and sisters, and practiced it through lectio divina. The tireless preacher of the gospel was also a fervent reader of the gospels. For there was but one Word of God. That same one that must be proclaimed from the roof-tops must also be sung in choir, read and meditated in prayer, contemplated in preaching, and shared in fraternal life.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 1

Here we are again, at the beginning of another novena to St Dominic, in anticipation of his feast, with whom we have, so to speak, ‘thrown in our lot.’

What have we done and what does it all mean?
What can we ask of St Dominic, as we daily take up the task of fidelity, of perseverance and of trust in the love and mercy of God?
... This Order of Preachers could be very much likened to a potter’s house, in which we present ourselves to the LORD, under the protection and through the unfailing, ceaseless intercession of St Dominic.
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