The Dominican spirit is marked by a certain freedom and a respect for each individual: so, for instance, there is no Dominican method or prescribed way of prayer. Each one develops her own way or ways of relating to her God and chooses how to express that relationship in personal prayer from day to day. That prayer however, will be influenced by other elements of Dominican life – study, especially of scripture; liturgy, community life and the mission of the Order. Liturgy – Mass and the Prayer of the Church (Divine Office) is central to community prayer and daily life. Apart from the liturgy, our main devotion is the Rosary, which the Church owes to the Dominicans.
Dominican thought is centred especially on the Incarnation, the coming of God into our world to fully share our humanity. This leads to a strong devotion to the person of Jesus Christ and also to setting a high value on being human, valuing ordinary human life in this world and to seeing good in all created things. So the Dominican spirit is positive, joyful and celebratory. A ‘motto’ expresses this: ‘to praise, to bless, to proclaim’.
Every religious Order was founded to meet some particular need which called to the founder and inspired him or her to establish an Order to continue to meet this need. The great need that Dominic saw was ignorance and misunderstanding of the Christian faith, which left people open and vulnerable to wrong teaching and false values. So our mission as Dominicans is to seek out truth and beauty wherever they are to be found and to bring to people the truth of the Gospel. The motto of the Order is TRUTH and its official title is ‘the Order of Preachers’.
The fundamental mission of the Order is to preach. This, of course, is not limited to standing in a pulpit – or anywhere else – and giving sermons! It means being a preaching by the way we live, and in our ministries bringing the light, the hope and the joy of the Gospel wherever people are. Specifically we try to bring knowledge and understanding of the Gospel where these are lacking or inadequate. Our life and mission is summed up very well in another ‘motto’: ‘to be contemplatives and to share with others what we have contemplated’.