Dominican Women at the heart of the Holy Preaching

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“The nuns are to seek, ponder and call upon him in solitude

so that the word proceeding from the mouth of God

may not return to him empty, but may accomplish

those things for which it was sent.” LCM 1 II

 

The primary preaching of the nuns not does not consist in what we ‘do’ but in who we ‘are’: contemplative women who have entered into the heart of God through union with Jesus Christ, the Word of God—women who have become the place of God’s salvation for all God’s people and all created reality.

It is so easy to define our preaching first of all by what we do—the ways in which we reach out to people through our interaction with others. To define the nuns’ preaching in this way is to define our participation in the preaching of the Order very superficially.

Our preaching should emanate from a deep inner core of contemplation—from union with God and with the prayer of Jesus. This is a primary element of the preaching of the whole Order given to us by St. Dominic. To be true to our vocation of preaching means to live our life of preaching from the very heart of God. Frequently our Brother Carlos, as Master of the Order, challenged the nuns to live our essential vocation as nuns of the Order as a witness and a challenge to the whole Order—to regain this essential relationship between contemplation and preaching which was at the very heart of Dominic’s charism.

Dominic’s preaching proceeded from the very core, the center of his heart. It was from Dominic’s inner core – where God indwelled – that his loving service to his brothers and sisters emanated.

The nuns are called to witness to the Order that our preaching, like Dominic’s, is first of all grounded in a deep love relationship with Jesus Christ. The preaching of the Order is meant to flow from a deep inner union with God and then proceed outward as Good News to our brothers and sisters.

Like Dominic, the nuns are called to a life of essential intercession.

“In the cloister the nuns devote themselves totally to God and perpetuate that singular gift which the blessed Father had of bearing sinners, the down-trodden and the afflicted in the inmost sanctuary of his compassion.” LCM 35.1

Dominic followed the example of Jesus “Who offered prayer and supplication to God”. The nun’s whole life is a living out of Dominic’s life of intercession. We are called by our way of life to enter into the heart of God, and from that deep contemplative space intercede for the needs of the whole world. United with the prayer of Jesus:

“The nuns should keep before their eyes by day and by night Christ the Lord who, during his life on earth, offered up prayers and supplications to God with loud cries and tears, and now sits at the right hand of the divine majesty, always living to make intercession for us (Heb. 5:7, 1:3, 7:25)” LCM 74.I.

The whole purpose of our life according to LCM is that God’s Word should dwell abundantly in the monastery. In this we are not excluded from the ministry of the word:

“For they listen to the word, celebrate it and keep it in their hearts (cf. Lk. 2:18), and in this way proclaim the Gospel of God by the example of their life.” LCM 96.I

Sr Jean Marie Dwyer is the author of the book, “The Sacred Place of Prayer” The book considers the human person as the sacred place of prayer. The first three chapters lay philosophical, biblical and theological groundwork for the understanding of the human person as the sacred place of prayer. Subsequent chapters develop this truth more fully. The chapters on desert spirituality, illusions and finding our center give insight into how we find our true self and our place of home and belonging. A major premise is that everything flows from our creation in God’s image. Each of us is the privileged and sacred place of prayer.

 

Sr. Jean Marie Dwyer, OP

Monastery of Mary, Queen of Peace

Squamish, Vancouver, Canada