Thursday, August 8, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic Ninth Day: Itinerant Preaching

Ninth Way of Prayer (Itinerant Preaching)

Novena to Saint Dominic

Ninth Day: Itinerant Preaching

Dominic observed a certain mode of prayer while traveling from one country to another, especially when he passed through some deserted region. He delighted in giving himself completely to meditation, disposing for contemplation, and he would say to his companion on the journey: It is written “I will lead her into the wilderness and I will speak to her ear” (Hosea 2:14)Parting from his companion, he would follow at some distance. Thus withdrawn, he would walk and pray inflamed by the fire of charity. While he prayed it appeared as if he were brushing dust or bothersome flies from his face when he was actually repeatedly fortifying himself with the Sign of the Cross. While praying in this way he obtained his extensive penetration and comprehension of Sacred Scripture and profound understanding of Divine Mercy. This itinerant prayer gave him the words to preach so fervently and intimate acquaintance with the Holy Spirit by which he came to know the hidden things of God.


Be therefore followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
O wondrous hope that you did give at the hour of death to those who mourned you, when you did promise to help them even after death.
   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.
You who did shine by so many signs in the bodies of the afflicted, bear us the help of Christ and heal our souls in illness and unrest.
   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O God, who enlightened your Church by the merits and teachings of blessed Dominic, your confessor and our father, grant through his intercession that it may never be destitute of temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic Eighth Day: Study

Eighth Way of Prayer (Sacred Reading)

Novena to Saint Dominic

Eighth Day: Study

Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will place you over many. Enter into the joy of the Lord.        (Matthew 25:2)

Dominic considered custody of the senses important and fed his soul constantly with spiritual reading. His books were the Bible and Cassian’s Conferences of the Fathers of the Desert. He always carried the Psalms and the Gospel of Matthew with him, and ordered his spiritual children to read Scripture diligently and unceasingly.

He would sit quietly, and after the sign of the cross, begin to read from a book opened before him. As if disputing with a companion he would first appear somewhat impatient in his thought and words. At the next moment he would become a quiet listener, then again seem to discuss and contend. He seemed almost to laugh and weep at the same time, and then, attentively and submissively, would murmur to himself and strike his breast.

His spirit would then be sweetly aroused as if he heard Our Lord speaking, as we are told in the psalms: “I will hear what the Lord God will speak to me." (Psalm 84:9). 

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.
 
Let us pray, O most kind father, St. Dominic, by your saintly life and death, bless and guide us in the path of your holy rule, that persevering until death, we may, through it, attain the eternal joys of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic Seventh Day: Community

Seventh Way of Prayer (Arrow to Heaven)

Novena to Saint Dominic

Seventh Day: Community

That we have passed from death to life we know because we love each other.  One who does not love is among the living dead. (1 John 3:14)


Dominic was often seen praying for his brothers and sisters reaching towards heaven like an arrow which has been shot from a taut bow straight upwards into the sky. He would stand with hands outstretched above his head and joined together, or at times slightly separated as if about to receive something from heaven.  In this way he sought for his brothers and sisters the gift of transcendent joy found in Christ. 



Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God and has knowledge of God. The man without love knows nothing of God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)


Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.


Let us pray, O Holy Father St. Dominic, who showed us the way to eternal happiness, and won many souls to God by founding the Order of Friars Preachers, pray for us, that we may follow in your footsteps, and ever work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic Sixth Day: Devotion

Sixth Way of Prayer (Arms Outstretched)

Novena to Saint Dominic

Sixth Day: Devotion

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young by your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God!   (Psalms 84:2-4)


Dominic had a special devotion the Blessed Mother.  His life, work and Order were placed under the protection of the Blessed Mother whom he invoked in every difficulty and danger. He had the custom of saying the Hail Mary before preaching and the Blessed Mother watched over him with motherly care, and gave him the habit of his Order and entrusted to him the devotion of the Rosary as a way of preaching the Gospel to those who could not read. 

I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come to me, all you that desire me, and be filled with my goodness. (Sirach 24: 18; John 14:6)


Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.


Let us pray, O most blessed father, St. Dominic, who loved our Lord Jesus Christ in the most perfect manner and served Mary, His Virgin Mother, with most fervent devotion, pray for us, your children, that next to God, we may at all times trust in the protection of the Queen of Heaven, so that at the hour of death we may be received by her into heaven, and ever abide under the mantle of her love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic Fifth Day: Prayer

Fifth Way of Prayer (Open Hands)

Novena to Saint Dominic

Fifth Day: Prayer

True devotion was in his mouth, and no dishonesty was found upon his lips; he walked with me in integrity and in uprightness, and turned many away from evil. (Malachi 2:6)


As an unbridled tongue destroys a spirit of prayer, Dominic loved silence and retirement, that he might dwell with God. His intimate friend, William of Montserrat, said that “Dominic always kept the silence prescribed by the custom and rule of the Order, abstained from idle words, and always spoke either of God or to God.”  He had a special devotion for the Crucified Christ praying silently with open hands before his breast in the manner of an open book, opening his heart in devotion to God alone. 



Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.


Let us pray, O most Holy Father St. Dominic, who always showed yourself loving to all and never despised, wounded or offended anyone, obtain for me from our Savior, the grace to be severe only to myself and my evil passions and always gentle and loving toward my neighbor, ever like him, pardoning all who injure or offend me. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic Fourth Day: Praise

Fourth Way of Prayer (Genuflection)

Novena to Saint Dominic

Fourth Day: Praise

 
Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and inspired songs. Sing praise to the Lord with all your hearts. Give thanks to God the Father always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)


Prayer was the breath of St. Dominic’s life, the light on his path, the staff on his pilgrimage. He prayed always. In childhood his delight was to serve Mass, to visit the Blessed Sacrament, and to chant Office. As a student, he learned wisdom more from prayer than from books. He won more souls by prayer than by preaching or miracles. In traveling, St. Dominic prayed as he went, sometimes chanted the Veni Creator Spiritus, or the Ave Maris Stella, or sometimes he sang psalms. On occasion he was seen in rapture by the vehemence of his prayer. “In all labors and trials, in hunger, thirst, fatigue, his heart turned always to God.”


Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.


Let us pray, O God, who enlightened your Church by the virtues and preaching of St. Dominic, your confessor and our father, mercifully grant that by his prayers we may be delivered from present dangers and ever increase in spiritual blessings. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic Third Day: Self-Control


Third Way of Prayer (discipline)

Novena to Saint Dominic 

Third Day: Self-Control


Those who fear the Lord seek to please him, those who love him are filled with his law. Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts and humble themselves before him. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord and not into the hands of men, for equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows. (Sirach 2: 16-18)



Though so pure that Holy Church calls him “Ivory of Chastity,” and Christian art puts a lily into his hands, Dominic was always weeping over sin. On seeing towns or villages, he used to weep over the sins committed there against God. But this sorrow was not merely hidden in the soul; it bore fruit in works of penance. Three times every night he scourged himself: once for his own sins, once for those of others, and once for the suffering souls.  He never had a room of his own, but slept anywhere: on the ground, a bench, or the altar step.


“If you have no sins of your own to weep for,” St. Dominic would say, “still weep, after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and grieve for the sinners of the world that they may repent.”
 

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.


Let us pray, O zealous preacher of penance, Holy Father St. Dominic, whose ardent desire for the salvation of souls made you ever ready to endure the greatest labors and fatigues and even to give your life in order to win them to God, pray for us, that treading in the steps of Jesus Crucified, the Redeemer and Physician of souls, we may generously sacrifice ourselves for the needs of others. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic Second Day: Mercy

Second Way of Prayer (prostration)

Novena to Saint Dominic

Second Day: Mercy

Your attitude must be that of Christ: Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross.(Philippians 2:5-8)

Before entering a town to preach, Dominic used to kneel down on the road, begging God not to punish the people for his sins but to make his labor fruitful. When passing an altar or crucifix he would bow and prostrate himself begging God's mercy.  Praise and honor he detested, and three times refused the bishopric. At the General Chapter he said to his brethren, “I deserve to be deposed from my office, for I am negligent and relaxed.” When asked where he would be buried, “Under the feet of my brethren,” the saint responded.  

Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)


Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.


Let us pray, O Holy Father St. Dominic the greater you appeared in the sight of men, the more you humbled yourself before God. Be to us a loving guide, that, following in your footsteps we may be enabled to withstand all the snares of the enemy, and spending our lives in earnest prayer, self-denial and humility, we may, at the hour of death, be received with you into heaven. Through the mercy of Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Novena to Saint Dominic First Day: Humility

First Way of Prayer (bowing)

Novena to Saint Dominic

First Day: Humility

He shone in his days as the morning star, in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full; and as the sun, when it shines, so did he shine in the temple of God. (Sirach 50:6,7)
 
St. Dominic was born in Spain in 1170. With the dawn of reason his whole soul turned to God. His childhood was most pious and his youth angelic in purity. In the University of Palencia he was the model student. At twenty five he became a canon regular at Osma, and with the religious habit he put on the Lord Jesus and strove in all things to imitate Him. His time was divided into prayer, study, com­munity and ministry.

Like Jesus Christ he passed the day in apostolic work, the night in prayer. Through humility, kindness and gentleness he converted many by the example of his holy life. Six times he jour­neyed to Rome, once to Spain, once to Paris, walking barefoot, praying or singing on the road; preaching in the towns and villages, spending the nights in contemplation. He founded the Order of Friars Preachers in 1215 for the conversion of souls.

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O most enlightened teacher of divine truth, Holy Father St. Dominic, who taught what was profitable for salvation and made yourself all things to all men, that you might win all to Christ; help us to close our ears and hearts to all false doctrine and whatever may be harmful to our souls and to open them joyfully to the truths of Holy Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Final Generation



On March 31, 2019 I attended a presentation by Sr. Mary Hughes, OP at Diocese of San Jose Chancery Office.  The following posts are from that presentation and my ponderings afterwards.  

Sister Mary spoke about the mission of religious at this time in our Church and asked how we understand our role as intercultural and intergenerational congregations?  She prefaced her presentation by talking about the resistance to discussing the fact that so many LCWR congregations are in their “final generation.”  

She pointed out that in addition to the turmoil many congregations are finding themselves in at this moment, hardly a day passes that we don’t hear a word of major catastrophes happening near and far.  She listed several of these and then informed us that several congregations have been impacted by destruction caused by fire, floods, high winds, and ice storms in the past year.  

Living through extremes means having to accept a new reality, to make significant changes and rely on strangers for help.  Attempts at scientific analysis of the cause of these disasters fall short of helping us to understand what is happening.  We are not in control.  We cannot prevent what is happening from happening again.  She asked us to consider whether these catastrophic events in nature are reflected in what is happening in religious life in this moment.   

Monday, April 1, 2019

Going Going Gone



Multiple forces impede us from doing things the way we have always done.  The historic reality teaches us that religious life has already undergone a few major changes, from the way of the hermit, to the way of the monastic, to the way of the itinerant and the apostolic.  Reinvention is happening now.  We see this in changes in church attendance as well as in changes in vocations.  Many congregations are finding that the work they were consecrated to do no longer is there for them. Others have taken over the work and Sisters are no longer needed to do it.  At the same time the political climate and moral climate, if we can call it that, is diminishing our sense of civil discourse. Violence is everywhere, most especially in our entertainment.  Hate crimes are increasing.  The divorce rate is up 40-50%. 



CARA reports there are more than 30 million former Catholic adults; 50% of those raised in the Catholic faith leave the Church later in life; of those about 11% will one day return.  Some say they are “culturally Catholic” but not practicing.  Some call them “lapsed Catholics” while a small group call themselves “collapsed Catholics.”  They left the Church together in disgust.  Reasons vary.  The book (Going, Going, Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics, Saint Mary’s Press, 2017) suggests that for most former Catholics disaffection with the Church began at the age of seven.  How do we reimagine ourselves in the midst of these realities?  We can’t just will it all to be better.  We have to accept the reality, live in and through the changes that must happen if we are to survive, and like those recovering from natural disasters, we have to learn to rely on the help of strangers.  The Nuns and Nones project that Sr. Gloria is working in is an attempt to reach out to young people who want no membership the Church of their parents. Although they have no religious affiliation, they are craving spiritual nourishment. They share our passion for the current ministerial needs of our times. 

March 31, 2019 a presentation by Sr. Mary Hughes, OP at Diocese of San Jose Chancery Office.