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Quodlibet 25 - Happy Dominicans?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A Godzdogz reader has asked us: which qualities make a person successful or happy in their Dominican life?

I think that a person will be happy in their Dominican life for two reasons: firstly, because it is their vocation, and secondly, because they live out their Dominican vocation as fully as possible.

The reason for mentioning the first point is that sometimes people join the Order, and then find out that they are unhappy or unfulfilled in some way. This might be for a variety of reasons, but one might be that they are not called to a life in the Order, and that their vocation lies elsewhere. The reason for the novitiate and the years of initial formation in simple vows is to learn about the life, to live it, and to discern more clearly if this is the Lord's will. A person will be 'successful' as a Dominican if the life and the preacher's mission is a source of joy.

The Lord seems to call a broad range of people to the Order, so it is hard to give a list of qualities that make a good Dominican. I suppose what is fundamental is that someone should be open to prayer, both in common and private. Our vocation is discovered and nourished in the encounter with God in prayer. Then there should be a desire to want to discover the Lord in other people, both in religious community and in the people that we serve in various ways. A good Dominican will be happy when he is on his own with the Lord, and when he is in the company of others. The next thing is that there should be a passion for studying and communicating the message of the Gospel in many ways. This mission requires a certain personal flexibility, so that we can adapt ourselves to the needs and challenges of the mission.

The second point I made at the beginning was that a Dominican will be happy and successful in the mission if they live out the life as fully as possible. I think that in various ways, we all struggle at times to live Dominican life to the full. There may be times when we are lazy, poorly motivated, or not as prayerful as we should be. We may find things difficult in community, perhaps because we have hurt or been hurt by our brothers. Being happy and successful in our life and mission demands that we learn from these experiences, and grow and develop through the grace that the Lord offers us.

Robert Gay OP


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