The Four Charisms of
The Four Pillars -
Dominicans of Canada
Among the extraordinary graces which Catholics gain by becoming members of
a Third Order is a share in many Masses and prayers.
To mention, for instance, the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Pope Benedict
XV, himself a Tertiary, said: "One of the easiest and most effectual ways
of reaching a high degree of sanctity is by becoming a Dominican Tertiary"
The members of this order receive during life a share every day in
thousands of Masses and prayers, and after death, when, alas, so many are
neglected by their relatives, those who are members of this Third Order
have a share daily in thousands of other Masses and prayers, this for as
long as they remain in Purgatory!
Among the many beautiful characteristics of the Order of St. Dominic is its
intense devotion and love for the Holy Souls, especially for the souls of
its members, friends and benefactors. So true is this that a young Italian
nobleman who consulted the Pope as to which religious order he would do
well to enter received for answer: "My dear son, you may with much profit
join any of the Orders, for in each you will find abundant means of
becoming a Saint. After death, however, be a Dominican" The Holy Father
meant to imply that the suffrages given after death to their deceased
members are, indeed, most abundant in the Dominican Order.
The conditions of becoming a member of this order are so easy and the
advantages so many that half the world would become Dominican Tertiaries
did they know these advantages.
It is a sad reality that even Dominicans, in their zeal to preach the Gospel
and to labour in the vineyard of the Lord, often neglect to pray. This is
nothing new. Even
St Raymond of Penafort complained: "I
am hardly ever able to reach or, to be quite honest, even to see from afar,
the tranquillity of contemplation." Time seems to fly
away and there seem to be pressing demands on every side. But what can be
more pressing than prayer? How is it that some do not feel the aching need
to pray? Or perhaps they do but simply cannot find the strength to tear
themselves away from the people who clamour for their attention. It was with
sadness that, during my time in the Philippines, I listened to a friar
lament his inability to find the time to pray and contemplate theology
because he was so excessively busy and occupied with pastoral demands. It
seemed to me, there was a real pain that he felt and some may call this the
poverty of time, a sacrifice that the clergy make. However, I am certain
that God does not ask the clergy to make such a sacrifice nor require such
poverty. Clearly, what the Lord wants first is our flourishing and this is
impossible without prayer. Indeed, God is seeking us out, waiting for us to
converse with him in prayer.
This quote is a good reminder of the relation
between the works of mercy as it applies to a preaching order by Humbert of
There are some who with love apply themselves to works of corporal mercy,
but preaching, because it devotes all its zeal to the salvation of souls in
danger of death, surpasses in excellence the above mentioned works, as the
soul surpasses the body. For this reason Our Lord said to him who wished to
bury his father: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but do thou go and
proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60). So that if it is necessary,
according to this command, to place preaching above the duty of burying
one’s father, one of the most pious of corporal works of mercy, how much
more should preaching in general be placed above all the works which have as
their object only the well-being of the body. Whoever by his word nourishes
souls with everlasting food does more, St. Gregory observes, than he who
gives material bread in order to preserve the life of the body.
Dominicans Really Be Lay People?