"Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, then come and follow me!" Mt. 19:21

"Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, then come and follow me!" Mt. 19:21

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012 with Archbishop DiNoia OP

Here you will find the homily for Christmas Mass, 2012 (including audio) by His Excellency, Most Reverend J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., vice president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” at the Priory of the Immaculate Conception (Dominican House of Studies) in Washington DC.

As Archbishop DiNoia explained, it forms a kind of homiletic “diptych” with his homily from the Fourth Sunday of Advent given at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

He was with us when some of our friars went Christmas caroling in downtown DC, which he refers to in his homily.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holy Time Holy Preaching to Hasten our Lord's Birth

The holy season of Advent brings things both spiritual and evangelical for our 80 friars of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC. While professors are still marking exams & papers the brothers have been busy.

The +Dominican Friars Vocations Office (Eastern) is preparing for our next vocation weekend. If you would like to attend, contact the Director of Vocations now. 

Tonight our student friars started a silent overnight Advent retreat led by the prior of St. Dominic's (Washington DC), Fr. Joseph Barranger OP. Please say a prayer for them.

Earlier this week the brothers have been working in the kitchen.  Here is the latest trademark (it seems to change annually!) for their latest brew. No it is not for sale, but if you come on a vocation weekend you might be able to taste it (if you are 21).

And perhaps what has been most extraordinary, in an effort to respond to the call of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for this Year of Faith, different groups of our friars went Christmas caroling three days in DC's Metro system!  Archbishop Augustine DiNoia OP, back from the Eternal City to celebrate Christmas with us (he is celebrant and preacher for our Midnight Mass), also joined us to go caroling for one of the nights. Below are a few of the highlights:    PHOTOS w/Archbishop &  the rest of PHOTOS

Check out what happened when the brothers were caroling the first night in Chinatown! (read about it here)

The second night Archbishop DiNoia OP joined us:

The third night the brothers voices seemed to have been warmed up and ready to go!

In these difficult times in which we live, how important it is for all of us to engage our culture and to invite others to know Jesus Christ our Savior.  COME LORD JESUS!

The holy cards passed out to passersby had an amazing little scene of the Nativity of our Lord and on the back this prayer which the brothers wrote:

Come Thou Redeemer of the earth,
And manifest Thy virgin birth:

Let every age adoring fall;
Such birth befits the God of all.

Merry Christmas from the Dominican Friars

Lord God, we praise you for creating us and for restoring us in Christ.
Thank you for the life he shares with us
and for the gift of our salvation.
May the power of his divinity
keep us from temptation, 
provide for our needs,
(include your personal request)
lead us to forgiveness,
and bring us to everlasting life.

Finally here are some recent preparations of our Dominican Schola for Christmas liturgies:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Phenomenology of the Vows: Poverty

*see also:
Introduction to the Phenomenology of the Vows
Phenomenology of the Vows: Chastity
Phenomenology of the Vows: Obedience

"Why do you hate money and possessions?" I think this is the first thing that many people, especially non-Christians think when they hear about the vow of poverty - the voluntary acceptance to live a materially simple life, with all things held in common. "That sounds like communism!" This is not an unreasonable reaction to the religious vow, yet I think it is mistaken in what it sees as the meaning of the vow. As we discussed in the introduction to this series, Edmund Husserl's phenomenological method can be helpful in understanding what the vows are all about, and what they are not about. In particular we noted that phenomenology has two key notions: intentionality and givenness.
"Christ of the Breadlines" by Fritz Eichenberg

Intentionality means that we never just think, we always think about something. Givenness means that our perception of reality, of any individual reality, is shaped by the mode it is given to us - we don't impose terms on the world but receive the world according to its own terms of presentation. We made this specific in relation to the religious vows by saying that vows are always for something, not just acts of the will without purpose. And the vows are always about being open to something given to us, in the case of the vows, the person of Jesus Christ as poor, chaste, and obedient. Phenomenological analysis can help us correct our thinking on the vows and help us to appreciate them more as well as the person we receive through them. Let us now turn to the vow of poverty under these two notions: intentionality and givenness.

Intentionality - the vow of poverty is not the rejection of something, it is not against money, possessions, or wealth; it is for something first and foremost. The intentionality of the vow is to be for Christ in a particular way. The Second Vatican Council notes this aspect in its reason for taking vows:
"First, in order to be set free from hindrances that could hold him back from fervent charity and perfect worship of God, and secondly, in order to consecrate himself in a more thoroughgoing way to the service of God (LG 44)."
Religious taking the vow of poverty are not running away from the world or some part of it, but running towards the world as free men and women in Christ. And this running towards may entail letting some things go. Think of it this way: when you go swimming you generally remove your winter coats and snow shoes - but you would not say that swimming is an act that rejects winter coats and snow shoes; rather to swim you must unburden yourself of these things. The vow of poverty is similar; the vow is not about rejecting material things but about unburdening oneself of material goods in order to be closer to Christ. For as the Catechism teaches:
"In the consecrated life, Christ's faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come (CCC 916)."
For Dominicans the vow of poverty is undertaken in imitation of the first apostles, the ones sent by Christ to preach the Gospel: "Saint Dominic and his brothers imitated the apostles who, without gold, silver or money, proclaimed the kingdom of God (LCO 30)." This notion of poverty was immediately implemented in the Church, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles: "Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common (Acts 4:32)." 
Holy Father Dominic meets Holy Father Francis
Evangelical poverty is about freeing ourselves for a mission of preaching and for a deeper union with Christ. The Dominican Constitutions put it this way:
"This spirit of poverty urges us to put our treasure in the kingdom of God's justice, with a lively trust in the Lord. That spirit offers release from servitude and indeed from solicitude about earthly matters, enabling us to move closer to God, to be more readily available to him, freer to speak about him fearlessly (LCO 31)."
It is all too easy to think that poverty is about practicality, about being "freer" in the sense of more able to respond to current situations, moves, crises, etc. But the freedom given in poverty is deeper than this practical freedom; as these quotations make clear poverty is about being free for Christ and union with God first; all practical benefits are secondary or accidental to this evangelical freedom.

Givenness - Poverty is not just about giving something up, it is most importantly about receiving something, or rather receiving someone - the poor Christ. For in becoming poor ourselves, we strive to know Christ as poor. There are many ways to know any object. I can know a football as brown, or as soft or hard, or as leading to a friendly and enjoyable game. We can know Christ in many different ways, but his poverty seems to be a particularly important way. St. Paul speaks of the poor Christ in II Corinthians 8.9: "For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich." The Catechism highlights Christ's birth as an example of this poverty, a wonderful theme to think about this Advent and Christmas: "Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven's glory was made manifest (CCC 525)." The Lord makes his poverty known to a would-be disciple: "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (Matt. 8.20)." And St. Paul sings of Christ's poverty in his marvelous hymn:
"Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name
that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11)." 
The vow of poverty allows us to experience, to meet the poor Christ, the suffering Christ. Of course we take this vow because we have had some experience of Christ in his poverty that draws us to seek him more. Here the dynamic relationship between intentionality and givenness stands out. Christ gives himself to us as poor, under the aspect of his poverty. We may have met him in the Gospels, in an image of the cross, in humble service to others. We respond to this encounter by taking a vow, not just any vow, but a vow of poverty. We want to know poverty more intimately so that we can know him more intimately. Our intentionality in the vow of poverty gives us more of Christ, who first gave himself to us.

*see also:
Introduction to the Phenomenology of the Vows
Phenomenology of the Vows: Chastity
Phenomenology of the Vows: Obedience

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Caroling Dominican Friars Meet Bananas in Nation's Capital - The New Evangelization!

During this holy season of Advent and the Year of Faith, our student friars went caroling in Chinatown near the Gallery Place Metro in Washington DC.

Caroling friars and bananas met "with some festive cheer," some dancing, and a little of the New Evangelization was accomplished!

Bro. Timothy starts it out around 2:20 saying, "We're going to sing and you then...dance!"

The friars will be caroling again later this week as we await Our Savior's Birth. The video ends with the people shouting: "ONE MORE! ONE MORE!"

Holy cards were distributed to passersby and they had some great conversations with DC'ers - thanks be to God.  Come Lord Jesus!

Consider becoming a Dominican Friar by coming on our next vocation weekend.

Join us for Christmas at the Dominican House of Studies and hear these same friars sing again!
Monday, December 24, 2012 – Christmas Eve
11:00 pm Christmas Hymns by Dominican Schola with Martyrology
11:30 pm Christmas Mass at Night
Tuesday, December 25, 2012 – Christmas Day
11:15 am Mass of Christmas Day

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Introduction to a Phenomenology of the Vows

Prof. Edmund Husserl (1859 - 1938)
*see also:
Phenomenology of the Vows: Poverty
Phenomenology of the Vows: Chastity
Phenomenology of the Vows: Obedience

What does Edmund Husserl have to do with the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience? Quite a lot, actually.

In the late 19th century Edmund Husserl was developing a way of doing philosophy that would get us "back to the things themselves!" Previous to him European philosophy had become either idealist/relativistic (in its Hegelian and romantic versions) or empiricist/reductionistic (in its British scientific and skeptical versions). Husserl wanted to reclaim "the things themselves," to allow philosophy again to deal with reality, not just our projections (idealism) or our sense data (empiricism). To do this he founded (although not without help from his mentor, Franz Brentano) the way of phenomenology. If phenomenology can be expressed in two words they would be: intentionality and givenness.

Intentionality is the most well known part of phenomenology — it is the fact that "consciousness is always consciousness of something." 
"If we imagine a consciousness prior to all experience, it may very well have the same sensations as we have. But it will intuit [think] no things, and no events pertaining to things, it will perceive no trees and no houses, no flight of birds nor any barking of dogs (Logical Investigations I, section 23)."
Husserl argues that there is no plain old consciousness, there is no "blank slate" as it were of the mind, but that we are always conscious of things, conscious of something as something. All our thoughts have intentional content — these lights as a stop signal; those sounds as a fire alarm; that person as my wife. Things are not perceived neutrally but as things, and what these things are perceived as depends on my experience, background, traditions, etc. All thoughts are intentional — they are thoughts of something as something.

The second watchword for Husserl is givenness. Against the subjectivist notion of philosophy that says we project or create the meaning of the world, that we produce reality from our minds, Husserl maintains that it is the world that gives itself in intuition (thought as experienced). This notion of givenness is most famously put forth in Husserl's "principle of principles:"
"Enough now of absurd theories. No conceivable theory can make us err with respect to the principle of all principles: that ever originally preventive intuition is a legitimizing source of cognition, that everything originally offered to us in 'intuition' is to be accepted simply as what it is presented as being, but also only within the limits in which it is presented there (Ideas I, section 24)."
What Husserl maintains here is that "the things themselves" are what dictate their terms to us; we do not impose meaning on the world but receive the terms of meaning from the things as they are given to us.  We have different modes of knowledge and experience not because of our own subjective temperaments but because different things give themselves in different ways. A cube of salt gives itself to me differently than a advancing lion. In phenomenology I must pay attention to how something gives itself to me to find out what the thing is.

Okay, what does this have to do with religious vows? I think all three vows (poverty, chastity, and obedience) can be helpfully understood in terms of these two Husserlian notions: intentionality and givenness. For each vow this means paying attention to what the vow is referring to: just as thoughts are always thoughts of something, so too vows are not just vows but vows for something. And just as the things of the world are given to us in intuition, so too each of the vows gives to us something, presents something as given and only as given in a mode appropriate to the vow itself. Of course the ultimate given of each vow is Jesus Christ, and each vow allows Jesus to give himself to us in a particular way, as the poor Christ, the chaste Christ, the obedient Christ. We will in turn look at the phenomenology of each vow and the presentation of Christ in them.

But why is this important? Why is this not just another exercise in ivory tower academics? I think Husserl is helpful because when people ask me about the vows they almost always conceive of them as (1) an act of giving something up; and (2) an act that I choose to do. While it is good (or bad!) for my ego to have people lauding me for my "discipline," "commitment," and "sacrifice;" and while these aspects of the vows are true, I don't think they are the primary reason for taking (or living) the vows. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, bears witness to the true reason for the vows:
"The Church continually keeps before it the warning of the Apostle which moved the faithful to charity, exhorting them to experience personally what Christ Jesus had known within Himself. This was the same Christ Jesus, who "emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave . . . becoming obedient to death", and because of us "being rich, he became poor". Because the disciples must always offer an imitation of and a testimony to the charity and humility of Christ, Mother Church rejoices at finding within her bosom men and women who very closely follow their Saviour who debased Himself to our comprehension. There are some who, in their freedom as sons of God, renounce their own wills and take upon themselves the state of poverty. Still further, some become subject of their own accord to another man, in the matter of perfection for love of God. This is beyond the measure of the commandments, but is done in order to become more fully like the obedient Christ (LG 42)."
The vows are not so much about giving up something as about opening up our lives to the reception of a gift given to us: Jesus Christ. The vows are not a negative act but the positive act of conforming ourselves more and more to Christ who has offered himself for us and seeks to abide in us more perfectly. In order to better understand how the vows conform us to Jesus Christ, I think Edmund Husserl and his thought can be a valuable companion, just as he was a valuable teacher to both St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand, and a major philosophical influence on Blessed John Paul II. So, let us get "back to the vows themselves!" Or perhaps better, to the One we know and love in them.

*see also:
Phenomenology of the Vows: Poverty
Phenomenology of the Vows: Chastity
Phenomenology of the Vows: Obedience

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Turkey Bowl 2012 at Dominican House of Studies

Each year the friars of the Dominican House of Studies organize a flag football tournament on Thanksgiving. 

(click photos to enlarge) 

This year's tournament had 4 teams participate (all Dominicans). Fun was had by all as we gave thanks to God for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ!

Not everyone can play because there is a team in the kitchen preparing the feast! This year they cooked 5 turkeys and everything else!  

Below are a few of the highlights with some photos.  If you look closely you will see one "older" friar also playing.

"Aquinas on the Priest"

The following article by Fr. Romanus Cessario, O.P., appeared in the English Edition of Nova et Vetera (Vol. 8, No. 1 [2010]: 1-15).

Aquinas on the Priest: Sacramental Realism and the Indispensable and Irreplaceable Vocation of the Priest

St. John's Seminary
Brighton, Massachusetts

The Priest as Head, Shepherd, and Bridegroom

THE CHURCH today uses biblical language to describe the unique identity of the Catholic priest. Aquinas uses another biblical term to define the priest: mediator. He finds warrant for this usage in the New Testament book that offers the most explicit instruction on the priest and on which Aquinas was one of the few medieval theologians to comment--the Letter to the Hebrews. Aquinas explores the grace to be a priest through the prism of the place that the priest occupies within the ecclesial community: Christ brings divine gifts to men, and he reconciles the human race to God.1 Aquinas identifies mediation with the special character that the sacrament of Holy Orders confers on the priest.2 Thus the subtitle for this essay: Sacramental Realism. To understand what is real about the sacraments, we first need to recall why we need sacraments. "Redemption is meaningless unless there is cause for it in the actual life we live, and for the last few centuries there has been operating in our culture the secular belief that there is no such cause." More than 35 years ago, these words were written by the American author, Flannery O'Connor. Were she alive today, Miss O'Connor no doubt would have dropped the qualifier "secular." For she would have discovered that not a few Catholic theologians spread the belief that there is no cause "in the actual life we live" for Redemption.  (...)

Read the rest of the article on our provincial website.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

St. Thomas recommends the Dominican life - Part I

See also: St. Thomas recommends Dominican life - Part II

When I was considering the religious life, I always thought that it would be a particularly good way to give my life to God. But reading in the novitiate what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say about the religious life in his Summa Theologiae really helped me to see why that is the case. I thought it would be fitting, then, for us to take a brief but multi-post adventure into the thought of the Angelic Doctor.

When delving into a small part of a larger work, it is always good to look first at the bigger picture in order to make more sense of our reading. It also helps us to see the author's deeper motivation. Why is he writing this? How does this part fit into his project? From where is this part coming and to where is it going?

In this post we will cover the “big picture” of the Summa and find out how the religious life fits into it.

After devoting the first question of the Prima Pars (First Part) to investigating the nature and extent of sacred doctrine, St. Thomas says the following by way of introduction to the rest of the Summa: "Because the chief aim of sacred doctrine is to teach the knowledge of God, not only as He is in Himself, but also as He is the beginning of things and their last end, and especially of rational creatures, as is clear from what has been already said, therefore, in our endeavor to expound this science, we shall treat: (1) Of God; (2) Of the rational creature's advance towards God; (3) Of Christ, Who as man, is our way to God."

We see in these three points the bumper sticker version of what St. Thomas himself wants to cover in the three parts of the Summa. We note here that the religious life is treated in the Secunda Pars (Second Part), which is about "the rational creature's advance towards God."

For the sake of completeness, this is how St. Thomas introduces the Prima Pars: "In treating of God there will be a threefold division: For we shall consider (1) Whatever concerns the Divine Essence; (2) Whatever concerns the distinctions of Persons; (3) Whatever concerns the procession of creatures from Him." So, we have (1) God as One (Essence), then (2) God as Three (Persons), and finally (3) creation's procession from God. I must say that, in my years of theological study here at the Dominican House of Studies, I have rather enjoyed my study of the Prima Pars - I would highly recommend it - but this is all we have time to say about it for now.

In introducing the Secunda Pars, St. Thomas says this: "Since, as Damascene states, man is said to be made to God's image, in so far as the image implies an intelligent being endowed with free-will and self-movement: now that we have treated of the exemplar, i.e., God, and of those things which came forth from the power of God in accordance with His will; it remains for us to treat of His image, i.e., man, inasmuch as he too is the principle of his actions, as having free-will and control of his actions."

In the Secunda Pars, then, St. Thomas will focus on man, who, because he is in God's image insofar as he shares in the faculties of intellect and will, is also (i.e., along with God) the principle of his actions. The religious life is treated by St. Thomas as something that assists in the realization of God's image in us, something by which man as a rational creature advances toward God.

St. Thomas goes on to introduce his division of the Secunda Pars: "In this matter we shall consider first the last end of human life; and secondly, those things by means of which man may advance towards this end, or stray from the path: for the end is the rule of whatever is ordained to the end." It is interesting here to note that, while St. Thomas later divides the Secunda Pars into the Prima Secundae (First Part of the Second Part) and the Secunda Secundae (Second Part of the Second Part), that is not the division he uses here. The division he gives in this introduction has as its first part only the first five questions of the Prima Secundae, which are called the "Treatise on the Last End." The second part of the division he gives in this introduction, then, encompasses the other 109 questions of the Prima Secundae as well as all 189 questions of the Secunda Secundae. So, we note that these first five questions on the last end are quite important as providing the context for the other 298 questions of the Secunda Pars. We also note that St. Thomas has much to say about "those things by means of which man may advance towards this end or stray from the path." His treatment of the religious life is found at the very end of these “other 298 questions.” Is he is saving the best for last?

The answer to that question and more will be found in the next installment, in which we will take the grand tour through the first five questions of the Prima Secundae as well as the other 291 questions of the Secunda Pars that precede St. Thomas’s discussion of the religious life. Then we will be ready to settle down for the main course: the meat and potatoes of the religious life according to the Angelic Doctor.

See also: St. Thomas recommends Dominican life - Part II

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fr. Paul Murray OP on Vatican Radio: THE TASK OF HAPPINESS

Fr. Paul Murray OP, of the Irish Dominican Province, teaches at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.  His series called:  "The Task of Happiness" is being featured on Vatican Radio.  Here you will find the programs that have aired thus far.  Fr. Murray taught me at the Angelicum and is a great professor.

The Task of Happiness:
Part I: Of Human Suffering & Joy   (audio)
Part II: "Singing He parted from us"  (audio)
Part III: The Experience of Prayer  (audio)

See also:
1. Fr. Murray's excellent book: The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality: A Drink Called Happiness
2. Fr. Murray speaking on Joy & Humor in Writings of Aquinas

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dominican Vocations Jumpstart Two Years Ago

Two years ago when I started work in our Office of Vocations for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph (Eastern), Fr. Nicanor Austriaco OP and I were invited to interview with Fr. Mitch Pacwa SJ on EWTN.  We were very grateful for the opportunity to talk about the big numbers of men entering the Order of Preachers.  God is good and He is generous!

Right now there are 63 men in formation just for our province. We have 80 friars at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC. This is the largest our studentate community has been for many years.

Guess what? ...it appears the Lord has more plans...from what I can tell, there is a wave of many more men coming to consecrate their lives to Christ for the sake of the Gospel - please keep our financial challenges in your prayers in a particular way that our province might find the means to receive so many He is sending to us.

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco OP teaches Biology and Theology at Providence College
Fr. Nicanor OP & Fr. Benedict OP interviewing on EWTN
with Fr. Mitch Pacwa SJ on EWTN in November 2010


Saturday, November 17, 2012

It is good to be a dead Dominican!

Praying for our deceased brothers on Dominican All Soul's Day
In his book The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker observes: "The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity – activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man." Apparently Ernest Becker did not known many Dominicans.

"It is good to be a dead Dominican." This phrase seems unnecessarily morbid but I think it is good to reflect on now for two reasons: (1) November is one of the times Catholics are called to think about death, particularly with All Saints and All Souls celebrated early in the month; and (2) it is absolutely true!

Why is it "good to be a dead Dominican?" Because Dominicans pray for the dead, especially their brothers. The Constitutions and Ordinations of the Order of Preachers concludes its section on the Common Life with the following:

"Let the brothers cherish the memory of those in the family of St Dominic who have gone before them, leaving them 'the example of their way of life, a sharing in their communion and the help of their intercession.' Let the brothers reflect on and make known their teaching and achievements, while not forgetting to pray for them." (LCO 16)

Dominicans are to constantly remember their brothers in the Order who have gone before them, from the great saints like Thomas Aquinas and Vincent Ferrer to the brothers who they lived with and have recently passed away. All are part of one family, made up of those Dominicans living now and all those Dominicans who have gone before, known and unknown by us.

This exhortation to remember our deceased brothers is made concrete in the lives of Dominicans daily. The Constitutions and Ordinations has an entire section on all the suffrages we are to offer for the dead. Specifically this includes:
         1. Masses for the Dead celebrated for fathers and mothers (February 7), benefactors and familiars (September 5) and brothers and sisters (October 8).
         2. Weekly Masses in each convent for the deceased brothers, sisters, benefactors and familiars of the Order.
         3. Five decades of the Rosary offered each week for the deceased.
         4. The Psalm De Profundis (Psalm 130: "Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord...") is recited at least once daily in the community for the deceased brothers and benefactors.
         5. In the case of a death of one of our brothers a Mass is offered in every convent for that brother. (LCO 70-75)

In my experience the daily communal recitation of the De Profundis is one of the most powerful witnesses of our love of our dead; before the main meal of the day we all gather in the cloister and listen to the names of the brothers who have died that day in our Province. It is particularly moving to hear the various low sighs or affirmations from the older fathers in the community who lived with and knew the brothers whose names I am only hearing about. It is a real reminder of the continuity of the Dominican life: we pass on only what we have received and treasure the gift of the Order from our Founder St. Dominic all the way to our recently deceased brothers.

Holy Father St. Dominic with his brothers at his death
For all these reasons and more it is truly "good to be a dead Dominican;" but it is also good to be a living Dominican! This is so especially because of the promise of our Holy Father St. Dominic, made on his deathbed surrounded by his brothers singing the Salve Regina. Blessed Jordan of Saxony recounts how at his death St. Dominic "assured his brethren that he would be of more benefit to them after death than in life, for he knew the one to whom he had entrusted the treasure of his labors and fruitful life." We remember this each time we sing the O Spem:

O wonderful hope
which you gave to those who wept for you
at the hour of your death,
promising that after your decease
you would be helpful to your brethren.
Fulfill Father what you have said and help us by your prayers.
You shone on the bodies of the sick by so many miracles,
bring us the help of Christ to heal our sick souls.
Fulfill Father what you have said and help us by your prayers.

Death for a Dominican is not a one way street; we pray for our deceased brothers and they have promised to assist us by their prayers. It is truly good to be a dead Dominican, but because of our deceased brothers, it is good to be a living one as well!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Next Vocation Weekend: February 1-3, 2013 (few spots left)

The next vocation weekend at the Dominican House of Studies will be February 1-3, 2013.  Reserve your space by contacting the Director of Vocations.

We recently finished our 2nd vocation weekend for this academic year.  A number of men have already begun the application process to enter our novitiate for summer 2013.  For the formation process for the Eastern Province Dominicans, click here.
Cloister garden at the Dominican House of Studies
Current Class of Dominican Novices
"What can I do to prepare now to possibly enter religious life?"

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