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When Joan Guzmán was pregnant with her third son, she dreamed “that she carried a dog in her womb, and when it was born it broke away from her and ran with a burning torch in its mouth to set the whole world aflame.” Her son was Dominic who, in the year 1216, would go on to assist in the formation of the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans. That dog with the torch in its mouth became their symbol. As a play on the word Dominicans, they are at times also referred to as the Dómini cánes—“the watch-dogs of the Lord.”
Dominicans, known as friars and not monks, are a religious order focusing on preaching and teaching and began after Dominic travelled through southern France where he encountered the Albigénsian heresy, a teaching that declared the physical world as evil and therefore the practicers denied the Incarnation of Jesus. Upon hearing this, Dominic began to preach against the heresy, with little to no success. Not wanting to give up, he went into a forest near Toulouse, France and prayed and fasted for three days at which point three angels and a ball of fire appeared before him. They vanished and he then heard the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary who instructed him how to pray. Not all scholars agree, but the form of prayer that was given to Dominic was the Rosary. Through the effects of this prayer, the heresy would be put down and it is easy to see today how popular and miraculous that prayer has become.
Dominic began with two friars, working to eradicate the heresy and today the order has grown to almost 6,000 friars throughout the world. Although the Order began in the Roman Catholic Church, there is now an Anglican Order of Preachers that began in 1999 and is officially recognized by The Episcopal Church and they are seeking official recognition from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion.
I mention this, because with the Bishop’s approval, a few months ago I began the inquiry process of joining them. No. It doesn’t require me to move or anything like that, but it is a lifelong commitment to a particular rule of life, which consists of the Daily Office (Morning and Evening Prayer), Noonday prayer, Compline, and one additional hour of prayer and one hour of study every day. I enjoy my time of prayer and I enjoy my time of study, but even for me as a priest, that is a significant commitment, but they don’t allow you to sign up immediately. I’m only in the initial inquiry time, which is followed by Postulancy, which can take up to three years. I’ll keep you posted as I move forward.
In our Gospel reading, Jesus said, “Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.” Perhaps this is a selfish request, but I as a priest, I ask for your prayers. And I ask that you pray for all ordained and religious, that we may be faithful in seeking God’s glory and not our own.