Each day during noon prayers we recite the Litany of St. Dominic. The many beautiful titles of St. Dominic come to us as midday reminders that we have dedicated our day to the pursuit of holiness. Like St. Dominic, we are called to be “most zealous for the salvation of souls,” to be “examples of poverty,” yet “rich in purity of life.” In fidelity to our vocation, we are called to be faithful to the “father and leader of our holy Order,” so that “at the hour of death we may be received into the heavenly kingdom.”
There are many ways that we draw on the strength of our founder. We invoke his intercession each night before Compline. On Tuesdays, our community intention for Mass and Holy Communion honors St. Dominic. We prepare for his feast by praying a novena that focuses our attention on nine of the virtues exemplified by this man of prayer. We prepare for the General Chapters of our Congregation by asking that we might prove faithful to his charism. It is certainly true that when we speak of St. Dominic’s presence in our prayers, we immediately think of prayers that mention his name; but our community also cherishes another aspect of his presence: our conformity to St. Dominic’s own life of prayer.
We can recognize St. Dominic as a man after Christ’s own Heart. He was meek, humble, poor and chaste, a man who gave his life in obedient love for the Church. This love translated readily into Dominic’s prayer—he was nourished by Scripture and the sacraments. In all his prayer, he sought union with Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church—a union his sons and daughters seek today. So it is that when we invoke St. Dominic’s intercession throughout the day, we recall that our devotion to Scripture and the sacraments is essentially ecclesial, essentially Dominican. In our prayers to St. Dominic, we live out our hope of being with him in the heavenly kingdom. The words of the Preface of the Mass for Dominican Saints beautifully express our faith, hope, and joy in our heritage:
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God…you called [Saint N.] to follow your Son, you sanctified him in your truth, you taught him the way to salvation, and you led him into the path of perfection. Nourished by Dominican life and by the sacraments of faith, ardent for the salvation of all, [N.] labored with apostolic zeal to lead all women and men into the fullness of your truth. Through our celebration we are inspired to imitate our brother and are strengthened in our vocation as preachers.
Pray for us, O Holy Father, St. Dominic, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.