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A Dominican Lent

This year I have started my Novitiate formation for the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic, more commonly known as the Lay Dominicans.  After having spent a little more than the past year and a half between formation and discernment I really must admit that it is all finally starting to show a discernible impact on both my outlook and the practice of my faith.  The Dominican order is known for many things, and despite my dear Franciscan friends’ polite jabs I don’t place arguing at the top of the list, including a dedication to learning, preaching and teaching.  Perhaps one of their greatest effects though has been felt in bringing their deep devotion to the Rosary everywhere they are sent.  Imagine my surprise, then, to find out that the Rosary as I had come to know it ever since my days as a wee baby Catholic-to-be in RCIA is in fact not said quite the same way as in the Dominican order.  There are probably a thousand guides online for how to say the Rosary as I was taught (look, even a nice full-page PDF suitable for printing), so I won’t endeavor to reproduce any of them here.

St. Dominic Receives The RosaryDominicans, however, take a very slightly different approach.  As St. Dominic was a great proponent of praying the Divine Office the format of the Rosary is fitted into that of yet another hour of the Office.  A simple and direct explanation can be seen here, and a longer one with more optional prayers is here.  If you, in any way, either already pray the Office or would like to this is a wonderful way to reinforce the fact that we are not praying a disjointed random set of prayers throughout the day but are, in fact, praying without ceasing (1 Thes 5:18).  I find it a very necessary reminder of the unity of a well-formed prayer life, and a beautiful way to work my way through the day.  I’ll admit I hadn’t really been very diligent about praying a daily Rosary, but since the beginning of Lent that has changed much for the better.  Perhaps it’s not too late to add a simple 20 minute prayer to your Lenten discipline.

On a totally unrelated note, I did want to put in a plug for a set of Lenten reflections being put out by the Dominican School of Philosophy & Thought in Berkeley, CA.  A short video is posted with a reflection on the readings for every Sunday and you can receive notifications in your email so you can view the videos at your leisure.  Also, although this started I believe last year I don’t think it has received nearly the attention it deserves, the Dominicans of the Province of St. Joseph are posting a Preacher’s Sketchbook with patristic and exegetical commentary on the Sunday readings.  It’s perhaps a little heavier than the previously-mentioned videos, but the time invested is certainly rewarded.  May your Lent be holy and blessed and its end find you with a heart filled with longing for our Paschal Lord.

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