Prayer is a reference point through which we all better know God. And for Dominicans in particular, it forms the very center of our lives and the starting place for our mission.
The Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours are the essential elements of Dominican prayer. The liturgy draws us out of ourselves, to pray with Christ and the Church and so to grow in compassion for all. Through the variety of seasons and rites, celebrating the liturgy in its diversity, we praise God and our communion with Him is deepened. The Eucharist as ‘the source and summit of all evangelization.’
The gift of the Holy Rosary also has a special place in our life. Our Lady entrusted the Rosary to the Order as a way to contemplate the life of Christ and as a means to evangelize those who had fallen away from the Church. Dominicans wear the Rosary in place of a sword so that we might always keep Mary close in our prayers and our preaching.
Each friar must also embrace personal prayer, essential to our life and preaching. Some set aside a specific part of the day, others a specific location in which they choose to pray, study the Gospel, read literature, write down thoughts or meditate. But no matter what form it takes, each friar regularly and religiously sets aside part of every day for contemplation.
How Dominicans Pray
There are many prayerful aspects to our lives, below are a few of the central ones
All our preaching, and our entire lives, comes from our prayer. It is essential to our lives. We're expected to spend at least 30 minutes every day in mental prayer.
In so many ways, spiritual practices encouraged for Dominican friars are in tune with popular modern devotions. More and more people today find solace in Jesus’ Eucharistic presence, both in the Mass and in Adoration, and this fits right in with Dominican spirituality.
We also regularly advocate and do Lectio Divina, meditating on Scripture and its meaning in our lives today.
Dominican Friars are to seek the daily intercession of Mary – a special patroness of our Order – in the Rosary as an essential part of Dominican prayer. Finally, many are attracted to silence.
And if words fail, it’s always acceptable to stop speaking, and to just sit in silence, alert to the presence of the Lord.
Check out our article detailing 20 different ways you can get started praying.
One of the most meaningful expressions of communal prayer came from St. Louis de Montfort’s Secret of the Rosary. In the section on common recitation of the Rosary, he says, “Somebody who says his Rosary alone only gains the merit of one Rosary, but if he says it together with thirty other people he gains the merit of thirty Rosaries. This is the law of public prayer. How profitable, how advantageous this is!”
This type of communal prayer is a reality every day at St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis.
We can take with complete confidence what St. Louis de Montfort says: that communal prayer is more powerful than the prayer of any one member of a community could ever hope to give.
In a Dominican context, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours play a central role. And just like the rosary, when they are prayed with fervor and faithfulness together, there’s so much more power than there could ever be praying fervently and faithfully on one’s own.
Read LCO Paragraphs 57 - 65, 70 - 75 for more detail.
The Rosary in Dominican Tradition:
In recent times Mary the Mother of God has appeared in various parts of the world and asked for the recitation of the Rosary, the prayer she gave to the world centuries ago.
The Rosary is a combination of vocal prayer (the Our Fathers & Hail Marys) and of mental prayer, namely, reflection on important events in the life of Christ and His Mother. When one refers to the Rosary, it is usually understood to mean five decades, or one fourth of the entire Rosary. A considerable number of people pray fifteen or twenty decades daily.
The Rosary has a privileged place in the Dominican Prayer life. Dominican Tradition says that the Rosary was given to St. Dominic in a vision, and Dominican Friars were certainly the first to promote devotion to the Rosary, which can be prayed both communally and privately.
Praying the Rosary the Dominican Way:
Now, outside of the traditional Roman method of praying the Rosary there is also a manner of praying the Rosary according to the Order of Preachers. It is identical to the normal Roman Catholic manner, except the introductory prayers are based on the opening prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours.
Dominican Compline App
Compline (Night Prayer) is the last of the common times of prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and is celebrated at the end of the day before going to bed.
In addition, it is a cherished tradition in the Order of Preachers. Here at the Studium, at the end of the Hour, we process out of our choir stalls and towards an image of Our Lady, Mary. Then after singing her praises, we sing to Holy Father Dominic and thank him for his witness to Christ.
Each night as we pray and sing, you could be praying with us through the app. You can listen to us chant Compline and chant along, or even simply read without the audio.
Please, join your voices and hearts to ours in prayer to God, our Creator.
Although our App is free to download, it is not free to produce. Countless hours go into the programming and upkeep of this App. Consider making a donation to support our preaching mission.
"If you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart. Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire."
-St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P.