Fr. Mark Wedig, O.P. was recently installed as the new president of Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO.
We decided to sit down with him and to talk about how he integrates God and Study as a Dominican.
Hear from two brothers finishing up their time at Aquinas Institute about the Dominican emphasis on Study.
I see my own life of study as taking place both in initial formation and in how I use my leisure time. Although, I am currently working towards Masters’ degrees in Theology and Divinity, this is but a small part of my life of study.
I also read books on my own; books on history, theology, science, art, and the lives of noteworthy people, as well as books that encourage my imagination and reflection skills. Study takes place when I engage in reflecting upon my life experiences and my interactions with people in ministry and on the street. Lastly, prayer can be study, for through prayer, I come to understand God and myself better.
However, in all three modes of learning, it is only study when I pass on this knowledge of the world, humanity and God to others through my preaching, writing, conversations, and living out of my life as a religious. “Our studies should tend principally, ardently, and above everything, to make us useful for souls.”
I know that in a few months (God-willing) I will have completed my studies, written my thesis, passed my comprehensive exams, graduated, and been ordained, but does not signify that end of my life of study, but rather just the beginning of a life of study.
After initial formation, I am responsible for my studies, for continuing to grow in my knowledge of God and His people. I am accountable to myself and the people of God to continue to grow in my skills in pastoral ministry, preaching, theology, sacramental work, and in comprehensive of the greater world.
My study must continue so that I can be useful to souls.
-Rev. Br. Christopher Johnson, O.P.
As Dominicans we have a number of aphorisms that come up again and again. If you’ve hung out with us you’ve heard, “contemplate and share the fruits of your contemplation,” “if you’ve met one Dominican you’ve met one Dominican,” and “never deny, seldom affirm, and always distinguish.”
One that I haven’t heard as often but is of principal importance in my life as a student is, “the wood of the desk is the wood of the Cross.”
In our lives as Dominicans we hear again and again of the value of study, the need to learn and think through the problems of our day, and that we, as Dominicans, are working with the mind of the Church. Clearly, study is one of the most important aspects of our lives.
We are called to study but our study is not self-serving; we don’t chase titles, adding lists of letters to the end of our names.
Instead our study is intimately linked to our mission, the salvation of souls. Study enriches our prayer, our community life, and our preaching.
Through our study we cultivate a desire for truth, and we bring that desire for truth to others.
Our Constitutions state this clearly, “Study enables the brothers to ponder in their hearts the manifold wisdom of God, and equips them for the doctrinal service of the Church and of all people.
They ought to be all the more committed to study because in the Order’s tradition they are called to stimulate people’s desire to know the truth.”
Our study ends up being one of our great gifts to the Lord in service to His people and His Church.
-Rev. Br. Joseph Paul Albin, O.P.
Pictures of a Studious life
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Dominican Friars of St. Louis, MO
The Dominican Friars living at St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis, MO are members of both the Central U.S. Province and the Southern U.S. Province. Our student friars go through their formation together at the St. Louis Studium, otherwise known as the House of Studies.