Novena to St Dominic - Day 3

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Novena to St Dominic - Day 3

Dominican Nuns Ireland
Published by Dominican Nuns Ireland in Reflections (Dominican) · 1 August 2020
Tags: StDominicPrayer
As we continue our short reflections on St Dominic in our Novena, I would like to say a word on St Dominic and Prayer. The following lines from the psalms are significant:
"I have called to you Lord: hasten to help  me! Hear my voice when I cry to you;
Lord let my prayer rise before you like incense,
The raising of my hands like an evening oblation." (Ps 14:1-2)
This sums up for me so well St Dominic's prayer.

We often hear of our Lord and our Lady as "The Praying One." I personally think Dominic was "the praying one" also. he spent his nights in prayer and the day he gave to his neighbour but we are told that on all his long journeys by foot he went ahead of his brothers, praying and singing the Ave Maria Stella and encouraging them to do the same.

The following is a reflection by Pope Benedict XVI on Dominic's "Nine Ways of Prayer", written a number of years ago:
There are ... nine ways to pray, according to Saint Dominic, and each one - always before Jesus Crucified - expresses a deeply penetrating physical and spiritual approach that fosters recollection and zeal. The first seven ways follow an ascending order, like the steps on a path, toward intimate communion with God, with the Trinity: Saint Dominic prayed standing bowed to express himility, lying prostrate on the ground to ask for forgiveness for his sins, kneeling in penance to share in the Lord's suffering, his arms wide open, gazing at the crucifix to contemplate Supreme Love, looking heavenwards feeling drawn to God's world.

Thus there are three positions: standing, kneeling, lying prostrate on the ground; but with the gaze ever directed to our Crucified Lord. However the last two postions, on which I would like to reflect briefly, correspond to two of the saint's customary devotional practices. First, personal meditation, in which prayer acquires an even more intimate, fervent, and soothing dimension. After reciting the liturgy of the hours and after celebrating Mass, Saint Dominic prolonged his conversation with God without setting any time limit. Sitting quietly, he would pause in recollection in an inner attitude of listening, while reading a book or gazing at the crucifix. He experienced these moments of closeness to God so intensely that his reactions of joy or of tears were outwardly visible. In this way, through meditation, he absorbed the reality of the faith. Witnesses recounted that at times he entered a kind of ecstasy with his face transfigured, but that immediately afterwards he would humbly resume his daily work, recharged by the power that comes from on High.

Saint Dominic reminds us that ... only this real relationship with God gives us the strength to live through every event with intensity, expecially the moments of greatest anguish. This saint also reminds us of the importance of physical positions in our prayer. Kneeling, standing before the Lord, fixing our eyes on the curcifix, silent recollection - these are not of secondary importance but help us to put our whole selves inwardly in touch with God.

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