Tomorrow the Church celebrates the feast of the great doctor of grace, St. Augustine. His rule is followed by many religious Orders including the Dominican Order. St. Dominic and the first friars choose this rule, adding to it the Constitutions of the Order of Preachers. It is a simple, general rule easily applicable to diverse cultures and generations.
To this day in our monastery we follow many of the practical elements of the Rule of St. Augustine like holding all things in common, common care of clothing, and a balanced moderation and self-denial. However, it is the essence of the rule that continues to exercise the most influence. For St. Augustine, "the main purpose for your having come together is to live harmoniously in your house, intent upon God in oneness of mind and heart." This is no easy task and is the work of a lifetime! We invite you to take a moment to read the Rule of St. Augustine here.
This is also a good moment to begin an occasional series on the elements that make up what the life of a Nun of the Order of Preachers is all about. The Church in her wisdom provides a broad array of ways of living the evangelical life but often there is confusion and we sometimes expect a Carthusian to live like a Trappist or a Dominican like a Poor Clare. While the basic elements of religious life are pretty much the same for every Order, each Order has it's own family "stamp" on how this is. So, we thought that you would like to read how Dominican Nuns live the contemplative life as expressed in our Constitutions and lived experience here at our Monastery in Summit, New Jersey.
Our Constitutions state, "To regular observance belong all the elements that constitute Dominican life and order it through a common discipline. Outstanding among these elements are common life, the celebration of the liturgy and private prayer, the observance of the vows, and the study of sacred truth. To fulfill these faithfully, we are helped by enclosure, silence, the habit, work and penitential practices."
Next time we'll share how we live the common life.
To be continued.