d r a f t
IDI – INTERNATIONAL DOMINICAN INFORMATION
Webpage on “Dominican Charism” at https://www.op.org/dominican-charism/#
In every human person there is a hunger for truth and for goodness, which is essentially our fundamental desire for God who is truth and the good. The mission of the Order of Preachers, also called the Dominican Order is to share with others the truth about the God whom we contemplate in our hearts. Together with all peoples of good will and in dialogue with them, we seek God wherever truth may be found. We encounter this truth through the good creation God has made, through his presence in human history, and above all by his becoming human in Jesus Christ.
And this, further down on the page, which incorporates the four pillars without naming them:
Dominic’s brothers and sisters in the Order are called to follow in his footsteps by imitating his mercy and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all sorts of different ways that meet the needs of the times. Because the truth of the Christian faith is passed on to us in the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church, study has always been part of our calling, together with the common life of liturgical prayer which Dominic knew from before he founded the Order.
Living a common life of prayer and study, our faith is nourished and we are moved to communicate what we have contemplated to others, and to encourage them to contemplate with us the mystery of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Another page at https://www.op.org/charism/ is headed “Charism.” It has a brief overview headed “What Is a Dominican Friar?” and more detailed explanations of prayer, study, common life and ministry — the four pillars.
Stephen of Salanhac, O.P., once described the Dominican friar as “a canon by profession, a monk in austerity of his life, and an apostle by his office.” Although an apt illustration, Stephen’s words require a fuller explanation.
Dominicans are not quite canons regular (as are the Norbertines), but we do find great joy in the prayerful recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours. All of our priories and communities pray the office in choir, offering our praise to God throughout the day.
Dominicans embrace a life of Gospel poverty and simplicity, just as Benedictine or Trappist monks do, but we are not bound to one cloister. As followers of the Rule of Saint Augustine, and exhorted by Saint Dominic’s last will and testament, we “hold all things in common” (as did the first disciples in the Acts of the Apostles).
Finally, Dominicans share in the office of the apostles by proclaiming the Gospel in every time and place – evangelizing, combating heresy and error, and performing the spiritual works of mercy – but Dominicans are not diocesan priests.
Nourished by our life in common, plus many hours at study and prayer, Dominicans offer our very lives for the sake of preaching the Gospel. What we receive from the Lord, we pass on to others; sharing the fruits of our contemplation, so that all may come to know and love God.
So what, then, is the Dominican friar? He is a contemplative preacher.