We Dominican friars strive to be good students, but not for the sake of worldly security, material gain, or even curiosity. Our study is bends us to one purpose; more effective preaching of Jesus Christ to a world which longs for Him.
St. Dominic saw the preaching mission of the order as closely tied to our study; when he dispersed the friars across Europe at the Order’s beginning, he sent them to the major learning centers – the Universities. Before long, these friars had inspired some of the greatest minds in Europe to join their ranks. These men (like Bl. Raymond of Capua, St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas) were inspired not only by the friars’ learning, but by the zeal with which they turned their learning toward preaching the Gospel.
These saints embodied what our constitutions say; that our study “ought to be principally and zealously directed…that we may be of help to the souls of our neighbors.” (LCO 77) They had love of knowledge which equalled any modern secular scientist, or philosopher. Like many great modern minds, they knew that study demands discipline and self-sacrifice. We live in an age when such self-sacrifice has brought many marvels into being, but greater than all these marvels is the Creator who has made all these things possible. As Dominicans, we study not only to contemplate this Creator, but also to hand on the good news of that contemplation for the well-being of others.
Finally, humility is essential to us. A preacher who is too proud to learn of God’s glory from the people around him will never be an effective preacher. In the same way, a Dominican student – and ALL Dominicans are students – too proud to humbly submit to new knowledge will always fall short of his potential. We humbly strive to follow the example of the holy Friar-Students who have gone before, and we look for more men to follow in their footsteps.