Prayer is at the heart of any Dominican life. It is through daily prayer and contemplation that we are able to fulfil our commitment to preach.
The essence of Dominican life is a combination of the contemplative life with the active one. One nourishes and stimulates the other. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, our hearts burn within us as Christ opens the scriptures to us through contemplation (Lk 24:32) and we are compelled to preach, to announce his good news (Lk 24:34) in whichever way we can.
St. Dominic saw prayer as an activity that should emerge as naturally as breathing, eating and loving. Lay Dominicans make a clear commitment to pray, both in the tradition and liturgy of the Church in the community of our family, parish or fraternity, and privately, through listening to the Word of God and reading the Scriptures.
In particular, Lay Dominicans are encouraged to
- say the Divine Office daily, for example Lauds (Morning Prayer) and Vespers (Evening Prayer). The Office can be said at home, in the parish or with the local Dominican community at a local priory or convent
- attend Mass daily, or as often as we can
- say the Rosary, a devotion which has a strong connection with the Dominican order
- attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently
- unite in prayer for the dead of the Order and of the Fraternity.
There are many ways of praying. St. Dominic’s Nine Ways of Prayer is a guide written down in the thirteenth century, by people who had known St. Dominic and had observed how he spent his time in prayer. It’s a useful guide which may help you in finding ways to pray.
Prayer in the Dominican Tradition
A talk from the Dominican Forum
One of the traditions of the order is that the Rosary was given to St. Dominic by Our Lady.