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Vital Indicators of Dominican Spirituality and Missions. A Theological-historical Reflection

Marijan Biškup ; Katolički bogoslovni fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 371 Kb

str. 325-350

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Saint Dominic founded the Order of Friars Preachers with the main aim of proclaiming God's word. By nature he was active and dynamic. Among the numerous religious rules practised by orders of monks, Saint Dominic carried on with those that served to achieve that main aim. The Order of Friars Preachers' legislation introduced exemption of certain monastic servilities if these seemed to be a barrier to fruitful apostolate and studies of preaching. The Dominican Order is the first religious institution in the Church that built in the obligation of permanent learning into the very foundation of their lives. It is for this reason in fact that Dominican spirituality is not simply monastic, nor strictly active but a favourable combination of apostolic and monastic living. Dominican spirituality in prayer, studies, joint religious life, monastic rules and specific Dominican apostolate directs members of the Order of Friars Preachers towards the ultimate in Christian perfection. It is of immeasurable significance to keep in mind the thoughts of St. Thomas Aquinas according to which Dominican life and apostolate must result from the fullness of contemplation.
The article is divided into three sections. The first refers to the significance and variety of the expression »spirituality«. There are various types of spirituality in the Church that are mutually varied even though they are not completely opposite and irreconcilable to spiritual attitudes and paths that lead to the ultimate Christian perfection. They all have an end life objective of directing souls towards God in faith and love, following and in being absolutely loyal to Christ.
The second section speaks about the nature of Dominican spirituality. Saint Dominic founded the Order of Friars Preachers with the desire to combine monastic (static) and preaching (dynamic) in their way of life. He emerged as one who proclaimed God's word through preaching and learning which, according to the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, needs to result from the fullness of contemplation, spiritual thinking permeated with God's love and joyful adherence to God's will which is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
Dominican preaching must result from the fullness of contemplation and learning. Contemplation represents thinking about God and about man, about the paths upon which man is directed to God as the final aim and meaning in life. It means uniting the soul with God with a simple view permeated with love. In the Dominican concept of life, studying is vitally connected to the apostolic mission of the Order. The words of the first Constitution of the Order about studying note: »As studying the Holy Truth is a vital means to realise the special aim of the Order, may our brethren, by the example and order of our blessed patriarch Dominic be completely occupied with their studies, by night and by day, in the home and on the road, may they read and contemplate and endeavour to remember whatever they can.«
The third section of the article relates to the spiritual life and apostolic work of Croatian Dominicans. Permeated with Dominican spirituality, Croatian Dominicans in practise follow the ordinary way of apostolic life in their work which is evident throughout the entire Order. They study Preaching at ecclesiastic tertiary institutions, they write theological, philosophical articles and preachings in Latin, Italian and Croatian. Wider popular worship amongst the faithful is conducted through brotherhoods, preaching at so-called »parish missions« amongst the faithful in Croatian speaking regions while through the »Third Order«, they animate and engage lay persons to propagate spiritual and social values within their communities. They were deeply aware that apostolic missions of their every day lives must be, faithful to their words, teaching others of the holy life and that the word of action is more convincing than the voice from their mouths.

Ključne riječi

spirituality; apostolate; preaching; study; Marian worship; brotherhood; Dominican »Third Order«; »parish missions«; divinity

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