On the Spirit of Prayer of our Blessed Father
“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me.” Matt 26:38
St. Dominic read these words as addressed to himself. He, who carried Matthew’s Gospel with him wherever he went, could not help but have these words of our suffering Savior burned in his mind and heart.
Long before the words of Canon Law were finalized, Dominic knew and exemplified that “contemplation of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer is to be the first and foremost duty of all religious” (CIC, c. 663). A man of apostolic heart, Dominic knew that nothing could be accomplished without first spending time in prayer.
Each night, though wearied from a day of preaching, Dominic gave himself wholly to prayer, resting only on the altar step. Perhaps the most important work we have regarding St. Dominic is the Nine Ways of Prayer, for could there be a more important work than our Father’s example of prayer? We know that Dominic took to heart the instruction to pray always. He spoke only with God or about God. Whether travelling or at home, prayer was his constant occupation, interrupted only when the good of souls required it.
How can we follow St. Dominic in this spirit of prayer? We ought to make our own his nine ways of prayer, particularly those he taught to his brethren. As true mendicant Dominicans, we must constantly beg God to grant us the graces we need to pray well. When we approach Him in true humility of heart, He will teach us how to pray and send His Holy Spirit to pray in us. Let us always remember the command of our Savior, “Remain here and watch with me.” Let us always make time to spend with Him in prayer, even when it is difficult, as our Holy Father Dominic did.
Let us honor today the first sorrowful mystery of the Rosary, the Agony in the Garden, and let us ask, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and St. Dominic, the grace to persevere in prayer.