October 10, 2011

A Summary of St. Dominic's Prayer

The Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic presume a connection between the body and the soul, devotion and prayer. Each of the ways speaks to the importance of what is called "vocal" prayer. Such prayer goes beyond words that are said out loud. Bodily though it is, such prayer reaches for that true and total spiritual worship advocated by St. Paul in Romans 12:1-2.  It takes up gestures of the body which move the soul with devotion so that the grace filled and Holy Spirit imbued soul might move the body in true worship to make Christ-like sacrifices of love:


- The bowing of one's head and heart with humility at the beginning of prayer before the crucifix, at the altar, in the Name of the Trinity;
- The throwing down and prostrating of one's whole body with tears of compunction for the sins of others when one can find no more tears for his own;
- The welcoming of all the physical difficulties and the patience endurance of all kinds of bodily discomforts during prayer as part of prayer itself, as a way of offering one's body to God in praise;
- The fixating of one's gaze on Christ crucified while kneeling and standing with bold petitions filled with confidence in the indescribable goodness of God and sober acceptance of one's own weakness;
- The raising of one's hands to heaven with eyes wide open in the ancient orans of the first Christians;
- The stretching out of one's arms cruciform with a cry for help in heartbreaking situations;
- The standing strong with hands folded in prayer like an arrow shot into the heart of God;
- The sitting in holy reading and contemplation - that ancient practice of lectio divina; and
- The frequent quest for solitude in which one resists fantasies and evil thoughts like flies and prepares for spiritual battle against diabolical malice by the sign of the Cross.