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Contemplation and action: Pope reflects on example of St. Dominic

August 08, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI continued his weekly talks on the “School of Prayer” during his public audience on August 8. Noting that the day was the feast of St. Dominic, the Holy Father devoted most of his remarks to the prayer life of the Dominican founder.

St. Dominic, the Pope said, embodied “the harmonious integration of contemplation of the divine mysteries and apostolic activity.” From a deep life of prayer he drew the strength to continue his enormously productive preaching and ministry.

While St. Dominic did not leave any writings about prayer, the Pope told his audience, a Dominican monk who knew him collected his thoughts in The Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic. These different ways involve different postures and attitudes, but have something in common, the Pope observed: one prays “always with our gaze toward the crucified Lord.”

Pope Benedict paid particular attention to St. Dominic’s habit of staying, after Mass or the Liturgy of Hours, for private contemplation “without any time limits.” During these periods of prayer, his monks reported, “at times he would go into a sort of ecstasy, his face transfigured, but immediately afterwards he would humbly resume his daily activities recharged by the power that comes from on High.”

The ability of this great saint to move from profound prayer to vigorous apostolic work is an important reminder for all Christians, the Pope said. St. Dominic’s example teaches that “only a steady relationship with God gives us the strength to live with intensity every event, especially that of suffering.”

For the second consecutive week, the Pope reminded those who attended his audience at Castel Gandolfo that prayer should not be neglected during vacation, and that leisure time can be an ideal time for contemplation.


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