The Pillars of the Dominican Life

Light of the Church

The season of autumn has manifested itself in the northern hemisphere with obvious changes in weather and the harvest for many crops. This time also leads us to the realization that the Year of Faith will soon come to a close at the end of November. This year has been a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). It has been a time of pilgrimage for us as Catholics and as a Family of Saint Dominic to reflect on what our Faith means to us and how we live it through the sacramental life of the Church and the four pillars of ministry, community, study, and prayer.

The Pillar of Ministry directs us to one of the Dominican mottos, “Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere”. That is “to contemplate and to give to others the fruits of our contemplation”. We pass on to others these fruits through the apostolate of preaching the Gospel and its values. We share Saint Dominic’s passion and desire to preach the Good News for the salvation of souls. We do this because we are truly friends of Jesus Christ and wish to share this divine friendship with all people.

All of the Dominican branches respond to the pillar of community by answering the call to follow Christ. This pillar invites us to live the Gospel in common through love, prayer, compassion, and charity. We then go forth from our communities to do the same for those to whom we minister. Thus we allow our commitment as Dominicans to over flow into the many ways of bringing the Good News of Christ to the world.

The pillar of study consists of an intimate search and understanding of what is truth. This “Veritas” brings about a thirst and longing for God and His Holy Will. We discover God’s presence in our lives through the wisdom we receive in the study of the Holy Scriptures, theology, and various other subjects. Our wisdom is thus shared through our contemplation and unique individual style of preaching.

Prayer is a pillar that is so essential to following Jesus Christ. Prayer, whether in private or in common leads us to a daily communion and dialogue with God. We contemplate his presence not only in our hearts but all around us. We encounter a nourishment that leads us to become children confident in the Providence and Will of the Triune God.

The four pillars have been a spiritual cornerstone for the mission and accomplishment of Holy Preaching throughout the almost 800 year history of our Order. This Charism continues to be deeply integrated in the apostolic life of each preacher. Let us therefore continue our pilgrimage with these pillars from this Year of Faith towards 2016, the Jubilee of the foundation of the Order of Preachers. May Christ our Divine Light through the intercession of Saint Dominic truly finds us on fire for our vocation of preaching the Good News!


Gerard Elizondo is a Lay Dominican from the Southern Dominican Province of Saint Martin De Porres. He belongs to the Lay Dominican Chapter of Saint Rose of Lima in San Antonio, Texas.

(15 November 2013)