Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lay Dominicans
Del Espíritu Santo

Rite of

Mrs. Carol Cline, O.P.
Mr. William Cowdrey, O.P.

Solemnity of Pentecost
May 15th, 2016

Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More
Tallahassee, Florida

"To the honor of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the Blessed Virgin, and of Saint Dominic, I, ................. promise to live according to the Rule of the Dominican Laity for my whole life."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Good Friday Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross at Mission San Luis

Friday, March 25th, 2016 at 12pm

Location: Mission San Luis, Tallahassee, Florida
The Lay Dominicans del Espiritu Santo will facilitate a community Stations of the Cross on the plaza of Mission San Luis.  Mission San Luis is a historic interpretation center located on the site of a Spanish colonial mission.

DATE: Friday, March 25th, 2016
TIME: Noon
LOCATION: 2100 West Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, Florida

Admission to the event is free.  Check in at the admissions desk and advise the clerk that you are there for the Stations - the clerk will direct you to the gathering area.  Participants are welcome to conduct a self-guided tour of the facility following the Stations - a great opportunity if you have never been!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ecstasy PLUS Agony EQUALS Transformation!  

The words of the gospel of Luke’s Transfiguration washes over us again this Lent.  It is a familiar passage. The ecstasy of the vision of Jesus on the mountain is a preparation for us to be strengthened so that when we experience Jesus on another Mountain in the Agony in the Garden in six weeks we celebrate a newer person in Jesus.  Both experiences are a necessity for us to truly live out a life of transformation, moving closer to Our Lord. Ecstasy PLUS Agony EQUALS Transformation
Ecstasy abounds on the Mountain of Tabor.  Three apostles are privy to the event.  We are like these special men.  Peter, James, and John have been set apart by Jesus and chosen to travel up the Mountain.  Why them?  Peter will be the future Bishop of Rome.  James will be the Bishop of Jerusalem and the first to experience martyrdom. And John, the beloved, will give first-hand accounts of his deep relationship with Jesus in the Gospel.  The mountain’s symbolism is to meet God, to feel as close to Him as possible.  It is a “religious high” compared to the flatness of the earth at the bottom of the mountain, which exemplifies everyday reality.  Seeing Jesus in His Most Dazzling form, the men are shaken to a reality which will stay with them forever. Jesus uses this flash of glory as a strengthening device. St. Ambrose beautifully explains, “Peter saw this grace, and so did those who were with him, although they were heavy with sleep. The incomprehensible magnificence of the Godhead overwhelms the perception of our body.” When we fall asleep and something awakens us that is beyond our wildest dreams, then we want it to last forever. Peter impulsively blurts out his desire to protect the glorious magnificence and insists three tents are built.  Like us he wants the glory to last forever.  Our own personal glories reveal themselves in many facets, intensely beautiful music, Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and the perfection of a newborn baby!
But then there is the unavoidable Agony in the Garden. Jesus has prepared and equipped Peter, James and John and given them the experience of the Transfiguration in order for them to withstand the impending Agony in the Garden. The Mount of Olives is another mountain, actually a hill, which overlooks adjacent Jerusalem.  Matthew 26:37, “He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to feel sorrow and distress.”  Mark 14:33 “He took with him, Peter, James and John, and began to be troubled and distressed.” Then they fell asleep again. Avoiding the reality of suffering, these men, followers of Christ slept because they did not want to face the impending event.  Living a life of faith we, too, are disturbed when we are called to suffer.  We just want to sleep and make the pain depart. Luke 22:45, “When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief.” Father Roger Radloff, a friend and priest who suffered three years with cancer, had his last homilies written and bound into two volumes.  He comments on this suffering, “I would dare say that most people don’t look for happiness anymore, they look for safety, security, comfortability…happiness is long out of sight for those who are cynical and sometimes realistic.  To be comfortable seems to be the end of American living, if you think about it.  Things that inconvenience us are the things to get rid of…so in other words, it’s important to make enough money and to secure that money in such a way, a lifetime goal, to be as comfortable as possible…and maybe the exact purpose of Christianity is to make us uncomfortable, because if we were comfortable all the time, if we were Peter sitting up there in his little tent looking at the Transfigured Christ we would never deal with the reality of the problems we have here on earth and the very complacency of our lives would force us to be uncreative.  In other words, it almost takes agony to make ecstasy possible; you have to have one end of the polar spectrum in order to be able to share in the other…” Our realities, our agonies could be in the shape of uncontrollable circumstances, family disappointments or unexpected deaths and long term dying.
Both these elements, ecstasy and agony, each one of us MUST trudge through to be transformed.  We must endure the difficult experiences.  Every morning is not spent seeking suffering, but just living out our normal everyday lives. Without pain, Christ says, there is no growth toward Him.  When we recognize Christ’s life, and embody his Whole Divine Glory and Human Passion, we receive all of Him. In the fourth mystery of light of the rosary, the Transfiguration, the meditation is, “I desire to be transformed by God” or “I desire to be a new person in Christ.”  As we move closer to our death, the Lord calls us to urgently live both the agony and the ecstasy. Incorporating both elements, Jesus urges us to change. In the Transfiguration true discipleship on the Glory Mountain means take up the cross, then by embracing the suffering, the Lord empowers those who answer the call because Jesus will be seen, face to face. On that high glorious mountain, the voice of God from the cloud vehemently commands the three men (and us), “Listen to him.” In the scene with the disciples on the Mountain in the Garden, Jesus emphatically directs his disciples (and us), “Get up!” Our real life transformational decisions could include forgiving an annoying friend or family member, making a cathartic confession, or surrendering  and  healing from a  lost, strained relationship.
Experiencing, fully engaging, and completely embodying the indescribable presence of God the Father and His Son in our life, holding on to that experience and never losing it, helps us to then be able to endure the unavoidable pains, challenges, and sufferings of our everyday lives. The Ecstasy on the Mountain of Tabor plus the Agony on the Mount of Olives together produces, equals, becomes Transformation in our lives. St. John of Avila, a priest and spiritual advisor to St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, among others, commented in a letter, “If you long for these festivals of heavenly joy, if you want to behold them and take part in them, be assured that there is no better way to reach them than the way of suffering.  This is the way Christ and his disciples have always traveled.  He calls it a narrow way, but it leads straight to life.  That is why he tells us that if we want to join him, we shall travel the way he took.  It is surely not right that the Son of God should go his way on the path of shame while the sons of men (Daughters of Mary) walk the way of worldly honor…”

Submitted by: Mrs. Ann Salancy,O.P.  02/18/2016

Our Lay Dominican Sister, Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta,
Edges Closer to Beatification!
By Mrs. Carol Cline, O.P.

                In celebration of Luisa’s 150th Birthday, an international conference was held in her hometown of Corato, Italy last April. It demonstrated how far and wide the teachings Jesus gave her for all his children in the world have spread! Almost 1,000 people attended! The greatest representations were from South Korea and the Philippines. Led by a Cardinal, several Bishops, and many priests, Masses were celebrated with joy and inspiring talks were presented during the three days of the conference. On the last day, a witness told the participants the details of a miracle attributed to Luisa that has been submitted to the Vatican. Interestingly, it occurred in Florida. In addition, a second miracle which took place in Italy has just this month been reported!

            Contributing greatly to progress of Luisa’s cause, especially I think by the Church, has been the convincing defense and publication of the dissertation by Rev. Joseph Ianuzzi (Father Joe) titled, The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta, An Inquiry into the Early Ecumenical Councils, and into Patristic, Scholastic and Contemporary Theology. It was written in 2012 to complete his doctorate in theology at the Gregorian Pontifical University of Rome and is available for purchase on Amazon. Since then, he has traveled worldwide giving talks and retreats on the Divine Will according to the Book of Heaven and other volumes written by Luisa.

            The Vatican has given permission for all Luisa’s writings to again be published, now that the theological correctness of the material has been acknowledged, and the critical translations are underway. Moreover, a new biography of Luisa has just been published by the Vatican and is just arriving in the U.S.!

            As fellow Lay Dominicans, we should keep our Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta in our prayers that she will soon be raised to sainthood. I encourage you to read the biography published by the Vatican. Currently this book is available in Italian, See:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

         How our first lay Dominicans sought to perform ‘works of mercy’
The sons and daughters of Saint Dominic are blessed with the opportunity to celebrate two jubilees. The first started last month with the launch of activities marking the 800th anniversary of the Order of Preachers. The second began this week, when Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica to commence the Jubilee of Mercy.
For Dominicans – particularly for lay Dominicans – the timing of these celebrations is auspicious. The jubilee praising 800 years of Dominican life in the world urges the Order of Preachers to renew itself in the spirit of our Holy Father Dominic and to re-nourish our Gospel witness. To Pope Francis, the upcoming year also is a time to “rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.”
The earliest assemblies of the Dominican laity can show us how to bring each of these missions together. In fact, the first documents we have on record from the Order of Penance – the precursor to today’s Dominican laity – and from the various confraternities that formed in the spirit of Saint Dominic looked toward God’s mercy as a source of salvation.
This is most explicitly stated in the Statutes of the Congregation of Our Lady, Arezzo, 1262, written just 41 years after the death of Dominic. This lay fraternity of St. Mary of Mercy gathered in the Tuscan city of Arezzo “on the advice and encouragement of certain sensible friars of the [Order of Preachers]” in order to perform “works of mercy” so that its members “might obtain God’s mercy in this present world and in the world to come …”
The preamble to these statutes, which are reproduced in the Simon Tugwell-edited Early Dominicans (Paulist Press), abounds in its praise of mercy:
The Lord, who is compassionate and merciful, whose compassion is on all that he has made and whose mercy fills the earth, wanting no one to perish, but to bring everyone back to the way of truth, decreed lovingly in the law of his gospel and established it as an inviolable precept forever, that anyone who wants to obtain his marvelous mercy in this world and in the world to come must follow his most sacred example with regard to mercy, in this time which he has granted for the salvation of men, and must love mercy and devote himself zealously to the works of mercy.
With God’s mercy as its foundation, this congregation of pioneering lay Dominicans sought to “relieve the various needs especially of the embarrassed poor, and of widows and orphans and also, in times of urgent distress, to help religious houses, poor monasteries, hospices and recluses, to foster charity and love and harmony …”
In other words, their Gospel witness and their reason for joining the family of Saint Dominic was in answer to the call to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and care for the sick and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35-36). This animated the Dominican vocation to “bring everyone back to the way of truth,” as written in the preamble above, while responding to the call of our Lord to be “merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

Let this witness inspire our apostolate today as well. May the Blessed Saint Dominic and all the Dominican saints intercede for us so that we might obtain, and bring others to, God’s mercy.

Written by: Mr. Adam Emerson - Candidate for Lay Dominicans del Espiritu Santo

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary - October 7th

St. Benedict Rosary w. Beautiful Wood Beads – RW51

Pray, and Preach, the Rosary Every Day - submitted by: Adam Emerson

On Sunday, October 4, I joined in spirit with who I can only guess were many thousands of people who recited the Supplication to the Queen of the Holy Rosary. In this prayer, written 132 years ago in Italy by the “Apostle of the Rosary,” Blessed Bartolo Longo, the petitioner humbly pours out his affection to the Virgin Mary and places himself at her mercy through the “sweet chain which unites us to God.” In these early days of October, a month ordinarily given to the Rosary, I share these words not simply to adore this sweet chain, but to promote it.

The promulgation of the Rosary has been, and continues to be, an apostolate of the Order of Preachers. And all members of the Dominican family are encouraged to preach it. Bartolo Longo, in fact, was a Dominican tertiary who was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1980 distinctly for his work in leading the poor of 19th-century Pompeii to Jesus and Mary through a divine love of the Rosary. In the 21st century, the longing for the fruits of the Rosary is just as deep, and Lay Dominicans are uniquely positioned to help fulfill it.

As a newly minted lay candidate to the Order of Preachers, I won’t pretend to have the answer as to how to promote this. I can only testify to its presence in my life. But for me, it already has borne fruit.

The Rosary was perhaps the greatest surprise to me during my year of inquiry into the Dominican Order. I was born a Catholic and educated at Catholic schools, but until last year I hadn’t picked up a Rosary – much less prayed one – since I was a young boy. I was a cerebral sort who was initially drawn to the regular practice of scriptural and spiritual study within the Order. Through an excellent period of formation, however, it became clear that my prayer life needed tending.

I needed a guide, and I found one initially in the Magnificat Rosary Companion, a richly illustrated and beautifully written compendium of meditations on the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries. This had, indeed, helped to light a path to prayer, opening my heart to the Living Gospel and my intellect to other reflections on the Rosary, not the least of which included the Secret of the Rosary by Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, the Mystery of the Rosary, by Marc Tremeau, O.P., and – most especially – Rosarium Virginis Mariae, the esteemed apostolic letter of John Paul II.

With John Paul II, I read the words that would alter the very fabric of my home. “The family that recites the Rosary together,” the Holy Father wrote, “reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the centre, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go on.”

For the first few months of my inquiry as a Lay Dominican, I had been praying the Rosary privately, in another room while my young children slept or while my wife knitted. Upon reading these words of John Paul, I asked, “Why am I keeping this to myself?” My 5-year-old, after all, had been gazing at the beads I had wrapped around my hands from time to time. I asked her if she wanted her own.  She said yes.

My wife and I found her a colorful, oversized Rosary that seemed to suit her and asked our parish priest to bless it. But I didn’t want her to just finger the beads. I wanted her to pray them with me. Admittedly, I had low expectations of a kindergartner until I showed her the same Magnificat rosary guide that aided my prayers. I thought she would like the illustrations. I never would have guessed just how much she would like them.

Every night, she would insist on opening up that guide, finding the picture she liked best that day and joining me in saying one decade of the Rosary. At first, I said most of the Hail Marys, asking her to recite with me just the first and the tenth of them. Within a few weeks, she was saying them all with me.

One night, she slipped out of her room after bedtime while I was saying Evening Prayers. Before I could say with frustration that it was past time for bed, she said, “Daddy, I have questions. What does it mean that Jesus rose from the dead?”

At that moment, I praised God and I gave myself to the Virgin Mary and asked for the grace to be an apostle in my own home, for the wisdom to be the teacher of the faith to my two daughters, and for the fortitude to remain on the path that my Lord has lit for me. A more cynical person might have told me that my 5-year-old was just postponing bedtime, but that child is the one who first reaches for the Rosary guide every night.

Moreover, the sight of her husband and daughter praying the Rosary nightly also led my wife to join us. Even our 2-year-old wanted in on the act, so we got her a “junior” Rosary for her to finger. That one decade, that one mystery – whichever we decide we will pray that day – has become for our household a family prayer.

I am not foolish to believe that it will be all downhill from here. I know that it will take effort to maintain my daughter’s interest in and commitment to this prayer. That’s why every day, I ask Our Lady to intercede for our family so that we stay on this path. And I ask all the Dominican Blesseds and Saints for their prayers as well. Among them, Blessed Bartolo Longo, who saw in the beads a chain that links us to God.

It was John Paul II who in Rosarium Virginis Mariae turned his audience to the words Longo wrote in his Supplication of the Queen of the Holy Rosary, ending his letter with the words that are just as fitting on this October 7 Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary:

“O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of Hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we will never abandon you. You will be our comfort in the hour of death; yours our final kiss as life ebbs away. And the last word from our lips will be your sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompeii, O dearest Mother, O Refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. May you be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in heaven.”

May these words inspire all the sons and daughters of this great Dominican family to preach the Rosary!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fr. Dominic's Last Will and Testament

The Last Will and Testament of St. Dominic…
“My dearest children, I have no earthly goods to leave you, because, as you know well, I have renounced all things; but I leave you something of greater worth, that is to say, the blessing of God and my own. I pray you, and as far as possible, command you to love one another and to remain always united having your hearts and wills conformable to that which Our Savior has taught you and which our Holy Rule imposes upon you and of which our Constitutions remind you. Do not allow yourselves to be made vain by any grace whatsoever God may bestow on you, whether temporal or spiritual, but with profound humility seek to recognize the obligation under which His benefits place you, which with the same humility you should endeavor to preserve…
The goods which I leave you, oh my children, are not gold and silver, treasures or other temporal wealth. They are the treasures of eternal salvation; the wealth of heaven; divine merchandise and an inheritance which ends not at death.

I leave you first, Charity, the eldest daughter of the grace of God. With this gift, you will be zealous in the service of God, ardent in promoting the salvation of your neighbor, and never among yourselves will discords and dissensions arise. Charity will unite you to God, and you will receive there from those favors which the true friends of God are accustomed to enjoy. In persecutions you will be intrepid, and many of you will not hesitate to shed your blood for the faith.

I leave you, secondly, Humility. She is so pleasing to God that for her He descended to earth and enclosed Himself in the Virgin’s womb, beholding “the humility of His handmaiden.” With this gift, if it continues with you, you shall be well pleasing to God and He will bestow on you His grace. By this virtue you will endear yourselves also to those around you, who, seeing in you that gentleness and patience which are the fruits of humility and considering the many services that you render them, will, in return, be unable to do less than love and assist you. Humility will remove from your heart all false pretension, free from all proud ambitions and relieve them of the heavy weight of temporal dignities. Through her you will become receptive of much divine light whereby to obtain a true understanding of the Holy Scriptures and great freedom and finally, you will enjoy great tranquility and peace, since he who is humble performs more willingly the will of another than his own. Cultivate, therefore, this holy virtue.

Lastly, I leave you Voluntary Poverty, that which, although she may indeed appear less comely outwardly, yet is the more fair and precious interiorly and well endowed with spiritual wealth, since it is certain that her merit cannot be paid with the price of this earth, and therefore is the Kingdom of Heaven assigned as her reward. By this virtue you will be liberated from all the entanglements of worldly interests and set loose towards all cares of this earth and towards all temporal affections. By her aid you will be exemplary in preaching and in the ministry of the Church. By her will you be loosed from earth and tend upward toward the sky. Be not disturbed if through poverty you shall find yourselves in manifest necessities, because the Heavenly Father, Who loves you more than any father whatsoever, will soon provide with generous hand nor will He who feeds the humblest beast of the earth suffer them to die of hunger who faithfully serve Him.

In closing, I remind you of your obedience to the Roman Church and to the Vicar of Christ, whom both, all you and those who shall succeed you are to love, honor and obey.” So ends my Testament.