In a column on the First Things, Professor C.C. Pecknold of the Catholic University of America describes the positive example offered by the Dominican friars he has encountered in Washington, DC. According to Dr. Pecknold, St. Dominic’s vision for the Order of Preachers is still of great relevance today.
Dominic told his men to go into the world without fear. They should study, they should pray, and they should preach. His Order harmonized the life of a contemplative with the activity of an evangelist. This meant intellectual training. One only needs to think of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Paris to understand the impact this had. Dominicans studied other languages, and other religions, in order to preach more effectively. Aquinas himself wrote the Summa Contra Gentiles precisely to assist the brothers’ preaching to Muslims.
For Dr. Pecknold, this witness of joyful engagement with the world can be an inspiration for all the members of the Church: “This is what we need today as well: the right pattern of formation and evangelistic witness. Not every Christian will be a Dominican, of course. But we all have something fundamental to learn from the Dominican pattern of life.”
For more of Dr. Pecknold’s reflections, read his post at First Things.