In Dominican Order, four pillars are very important: Study life, Prayer life, community life, and preaching.
St. Dominic included study ordained to the ministry of salvation as part of the essential plan for our Order … before all else, our study should aim principally and ardently at this, that we might be able to be useful for the souls of our neighbors.” These words, taken from the Dominican Constitutions clearly illustrate the high value the Order has historically placed on study. Our student brothers spend at least five years in graduate theological studies preparing for full-time ministry. Even after the end of initial formation and the beginning ministry a friar’s commitment to study and his ongoing formation will continue throughout his Dominican life
Prayer and contemplation
Prayer is a reference point through which we all better know God. The Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours are the essential elements of Dominican prayer. The gift of the Holy Rosary also has a special place in our life. Each friar must also embrace personal prayer, essential to our life and preaching. Some set aside a specific part of the day, others a specific location in which they choose to pray, study the Gospel, read literature, write down thoughts or meditate. But no matter what form it takes, each friar regularly and religiously sets aside part of every day for contemplation.
The integral nature of Dominican community life lies in the fact that the community continually shapes, supports, and challenges each friar. More than just residences, a Dominican community (priory) is a home – a place where the friar lives, prays, recreates, and continually encounters Christ in his brothers. Because of this, it is often the starting point for preaching.
The friars preach the name of Jesus Christ wherever they are called to serve. Dominic’s Order at its founding may seem natural to be devoted to itinerant preaching, but it was a revolution for the church at the time. In the 13th century, wandering lay preachers preached according to unorthodox doctrine and without authorization from the church. “Serious” religious believers (monks) usually stayed in one place; mostly in monasteries. Following the example of Christ and his apostles, Dominicans lived simply and traveled the world spreading the Good News.
A Dominican preacher shares in the ministry of the bishop, the successor of the apostles. In their beginnings, Pope Honorius III permitted the Dominicans to preach anywhere and everywhere.
In preaching, we are invited to absorb mysteries that remain enigmatic for as long as we live, to propose insights that we will not master until the end time, and to seek love with relentless devotion. We then look for words to express this lived tension that will benefit others. Preaching is a grace vocation for those who are guided by the Spirit of truth. Answering God’s calling says go and make disciples of all the nations.