Our world is busy, and full of busy people. It’s no different in the life of a friar, whose day is filled with ministry and community commitments. That’s why it’s essential that a friar takes time for personal prayer. The Constitutions are clear on this; they say each friar should spend at least 30 minutes every day in mental prayer.
This might sound challenging, and it is; when a day gets busy in religious life, it’s tempting to choose personal prayer as the thing that goes by the wayside. But part of our special witness as religious is that prayer is a real part of our day-to-day life. And it is a real blessing.
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. Many also seek the daily intercession of Mary – a special patroness of our Order – in the Rosary, which is an essential part of Dominican prayer. Finally, many are attracted to silence.
Faithful and fervent worship of Christ in the Eucharist is encouraged in Dominicans because it greatly helps Dominicans to grow in faith, hope and love of Christ and the members of His body. Praying the rosary fits right in with this; no human has ever loved Jesus more than His mother, and a Dominican friar who longs to love Jesus more has no better recourse than to reflect on Christ’s life through the eyes of Mary in the mysteries of the Rosary. And when beginning to ponder these mysteries, and beginning to experience an aspect of Jesus’ life as Mary may have, it’s always acceptable to stop speaking, and to just sit in silence.
It’s amazing how in the life of a friar, making time for earnest personal prayer – not vain repetition, but real reaching out to God from the heart – seems to make things go better. Again, it’s a real blessing.