In this brief series about living out the universal call to holiness, we have seen that lay people do well to learn from the spiritualities, charisms, and lifestyles of some of the great religious orders. The summer months host the feast days of some of those great religious orders. Those months make a great time to learn about new spiritual practices and incorporate them into our lives. We have already examined the Benedictines and the Carmelites.
One of the great religious orders is the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans. The order celebrates the life of its founder, Dominic de Guzman, on August 8 each year. Whether or not we are professed in the religious order, incorporating at least a few elements of Dominican life and spirituality will help each of us answer the universal call to holiness and bring the grace of Jesus Christ into the world.
Contemplative, Liturgical, & Apostolic
For our purposes here, the pillars of Dominican spirituality really fall into three categories: Dominican life is contemplative, liturgical, and apostolic. Dominicans receive the divine life in their contemplation of God and his creation, and they encounter God in the liturgy as well. Dominicans bring order to their lives and their world by their rich participation in the Church’s liturgy. Finally, Dominicans give away the divine life that they have received in contemplation and liturgy by engaging in robust and fruitful apostolic works. Essentially, the charism of all Dominicans is to hand on the fruits of their contemplation through preaching.
Dominican life is contemplative. This means that they are called to seek and ponder the face of God. Indeed, this can happen in private, meditative prayer, but it also happens in study. Note the history of incredible scholars produced by the order, such as St. Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and many modern friars. Dominicans know that it is impossible to love God more by remaining at the same level of knowledge. More than that, Dominicans provide us with a great example of finding ways to know more about God and encounter him in many various settings. The laity can take inspiration from this pillar of the order’s spirituality. We can and should learn to seek God’s face in every moment, too.
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