Pope explains St. Dominic's nine ways of prayer

On the Feast of St. Dominic, Pope Benedict XVI praised the founder of the Order of Preachers as "a man of prayer, in love with God" whose nine ways of prayer are an example for Christians' daily life.

St. Dominic, the Pope said, united the proclamation of the Gospel with "witness to a life of poverty."

"In every moment, prayer was the force that renewed and rendered fruitful his apostolic works," the Pope said Aug. 8 at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

Prayer is the "origin of witnessing to the faith" in every aspect of life, he continued. The Pope stressed the need to find moments "to pray quietly everyday for our spiritual life," particularly during vacations.

Daily prayer, he said, is "a way to help those who are near to us to enter into the luminous rays of the presence of God, who brings the peace and love that we all need."

The Pope said St. Dominic showed great sociability during the day, but also showed great diligence in prayer at night. This practice reveals the saint's "harmonious integration" of contemplation and apostolic work.

Pope Benedict then turned his attention to the saint's nine ways of prayer.

St. Dominic prayed standing, while bowing to express humility, and while lying prostrate on the ground to ask forgiveness for his sins. He prayed on his knees in penance to "participate in the sufferings of the Lord." He prayed with his arms open while gazing at the crucifix to contemplate God's "supreme love."

The Pope particularly lingered on St. Dominic's final two ways of prayer: personal mediation and prayer while traveling.

In personal mediation, prayer acquires "a more intimate, fervent and soothing dimension." After the Liturgy of the Hours and the celebration of Mass, St. Dominic "prolonged his conversation with God."

"He lived these moments of his relationship with God so intensely that his reactions of joy or tears were outwardly perceptible," the Pope said. Witnesses reported that the saint would enter "a sort of ecstasy" after which he would resume his daily work "recharged by the power that comes on High."

St. Dominic's prayer while traveling allowed him to "contemplate the beauty of creation" and sometimes caused him to sing a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God.

The saint especially praised God for what Pope Benedict described as "the greatest wonder of all: the redemption accomplished by Christ."

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