In one way, it’s easy to ‘live’ like a friar. You could just pick any friar and decide to start living like him! This section doesn’t mean to cover that. No, this section means to look at living in common like a friar.
Our Constitutions say in the very first sentence that, “the main reason why we are gathered together in community is so that we might live in harmony of the house, of one mind and heart in God.” (LCO 2). By their very arrangement, devoting the first 15 sections to advising friars how to better live in common with one another, we can know from the Constitutions that community life is essential to a friarly life. There can be plenty of pitfalls, and if you join the Dominican friars expecting this ‘harmony’ as a baseline, you’ll be disillusioned before long. Brothers with different temperaments and personalities sometimes irritate one another, and brothers can be jealous of friendships that other brothers develop.
I read the first 15 sections of the Constitutions and am painfully aware of how frequently I fail to live up to the standard that I see in them. This is true for many Dominicans. But if we friars act virtuously, we don’t let this discourage us. Instead, we delight in knowing that the life we have chosen gives us such a standard to meet, and this motivates us to try all the harder to be excellent in gentleness and communal charity. A brother said once that community is a school of charity. It’s a school where saints are made.
No wonder we have so many.