St Dominic and Prayer

As we continue our Novena to St Dominic, I would like to reflect on St. Dominic’s  Prayer.

So deeply was Dominic moved by the LOVE of Jesus Christ Crucified that he strove in all things to imitate Christ, passing the day in apostolic work and the night in prayer.
Prayer was the breath of St Dominic’s Life and the light on his pilgrim path. He prayed always and He won more souls by his prayer than by preaching or miracles.
Fervent and humble prayer was the sling and stone with which he overthrew the Goliath of Heresy.

St Dominic’s methods of prayer known as “The Nine Ways of Prayer” were various. He made abundant use of gestures, genuflections, prostrations and other postures where his soul in prayer used the different parts (members) of his body to foster its own loving ascent to God.

In his Seventh posture of prayer, St Dominic was often found standing erect stretching his whole body upwards with his hands joined and raised towards heaven, often he would open his hands as though in receipt of something from heaven.  And it is believed that at such times he received an increase of Grace, obtaining from God the gifts of the Holy Spirit for himself and his brethren.

In all labours and disquiets, in hunger, thirst, fatigue, his heart turned always to God.
The Friars would hear him praying aloud reciting Psalm 27: V1-2
“HEAR O GOD, THE VOICE OF MY PLEADING AS I CALL FOR HELP
AS I LEFT UP MY HANDS IN PRAYER TO YOUR HOLY PLACE”
By word and example he taught the brethren always to pray like this, using verses from the psalms. (For example the PS 133 VERSE 1-2 ,the  PS 140 VERSE 1-2)
His Prayer drew him upwards to God.   He reached out to the Gift of God towards the promise of his Kingdom.

In today’s Gospel passage St Matthew tells us to be ready to give up all for the sake of the buried treasure or the priceless pearl.  The Gift of knowing God and his Son Jesus is the treasure that outshines all other things, for through God we enter the kingdom of heaven. Even now we participate in the kingdom even though life is full of good and bad.  We can trust that in the end good will prevail and evil will perish. The treasure we will find is eternal life with God.

More than anything the Nine Ways of Prayer of St Dominic points us to the fact that the pursuit of worldly things is futile and that the primary importance for Dominicans and all humankind is to pray for the Grace of Christ that is sufficient for each of us. This is the pearl which is worth everything, the hidden treasure that we should REJOICE over. This Grace will guide our prayer towards things that really matter, towards love of God and acceptance of his will.

And we should never cease making intercession with the GOD OF OUR SALVATION for the precious souls He gives to us, so that all men and women might be saved. This is great service for the kingdom of God.

Father God, Let us pray that St Dominic be the light of Christ to us all and like St Dominic,  that we can strive as God’s COWORKERS in the Reign of his Kingdom. Amen