Become A Dominican
Dedicated to the Service of God
"I, brother N.N. make profession and promise obedience to God, to blessed Mary, and to blessed Dominic, and to you brother Gerard Timoner, Master of the Order of Friars Preachers and to your successors, according to the rule of blessed Augustine and the institutions of the Friars Preachers, that I will be obedient to you and your successors until death."
By these words, men throughout the 800 year history of the Order of Preachers have freely chosen to consecrate themselves to the Lord, following in the footsteps of Saint Dominic, who dedicated his entire life to preaching the word of God.
Fidelity to Religious Life
Religious consecration involves a radical living out of the Gospel message. Those who profess chastity, poverty, and obedience renounce the natural goods of the world: marriage, money and self-determination. They embrace this manner of life as a means of achieving more perfect union with God in this life, and witnessing to the perfect union that is to come in the next.
In Christian Totality: Theology of the Consecrated Life, Father Basil Cole, O.P., and Paul Conner, O.P. explain: "The chastity of consecrated men and women proclaims the love to which the incarnate Word bears total human witness…Their poverty declares that God is our only treasure…Their free and creative obedience declares that Jesus is infinitely loved…"
This is not done in reluctance, for fidelity to the religious life serves as a liberating force. The evangelical counsels bring the life of a consecrated religious to “fuller, more explicit and authentic configuration” to Christ. Religious men and women experience an intensification of their baptismal consecration. Thus consecrated life is often called the life of perfection, because–with the help of God’s grace–we walk the path towards perfect holiness.
How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? - Romans 10:14
Clerical brothers are the brothers who serve, or will serve, as priests for the Church. For the Dominican clerical brother, his two-fold identity as a consecrated religious and ministerial priest functions in perfect complementarity for the salvation of souls. After moving hearts toward the love of God through his preaching, the Dominican priest consummates and further deepens this love through the celebration of the Sacraments.
The Dominican priest is distinctive
The Dominican priest is struck by the compassion of Saint Dominic who wept asking, “Lord, what will become of poor sinners?” The Dominican priest’s life gains its spiritual energies from the regular observance and prayer, both liturgical and private, to which he has bound himself. These energies well up within him as he offers the sacrifice of the Mass day by day, commits himself to assiduous and ongoing philosophical and theological study, and thus gives his whole life in love of God for the conversion and salvation of souls.
The Dominican priest’s life is truly the life of a priest of Jesus Christ, carried out according to the motto which developed early on in the Order of Preachers: contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere. As a priest he offers sacrifice day-by-day for himself and the whole people of God, yet his priestly life is particularly shaped by "contemplating and sharing with others the fruits of contemplation."
Although most brothers in the Order of Preachers are “clerical brothers” preparing for ordination to the priesthood, there are also brothers who are called to serve the Lord in a different manner. In the early days of the Order these friars were known as frater conversus, but today they are called cooperator brothers.
The preaching mission of the Order
Called to a life of prayer and service, cooperator brothers engage in the preaching mission of the Order, not through sacramental ministry, but by preaching in a number of other ways. While the ministerial work of a cooperator brother is quite different from that of a Dominican priest, cooperator brothers make profession of the same vows as do the clerical brothers, and study and work alongside them. The life of a cooperator brother is no less rooted in study, prayer, and preaching the Word of God.
And like all Dominicans, the spiritual life of the cooperator brother is centered upon the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, and daily meditations on the Rosary. Their study is for the sake of preaching, whether that be in word (lectures, presentations, and retreats) or deed (the very witness of a holy life as a consecrated religious). Finally, cooperator brothers share in the commitment to a life in common by encouraging the brothers to remain “of one heart and mind” by growing together in virtue and caring for one another in charity.