We already know that, for Dominicans, study is paramount. Saint Dominic himself believed that study was an essential part of the Holy Preaching. In the thirteenth century, this inclination towards study was no small feat: most clergy at the time were uneducated. Saint Dominic sent the friars out to the great universities to study, to preach the good news, and to establish further places of learning.
Dominic’s desire was that Dominican study focus on the Word of God and Creation for a more effective preaching of the truth. This study must include delving into creation where we come to know on a deeper level the Creator of all that exists. If we believe that our minds are gifts from God, then expanding our minds is a way of using that gift to consequently bring more glory to God. Study can be a form of contemplation on God’s creation, or even a contemplation on God wholly. Moreover, as it so often is for Dominicans, study can be used for others: to teach, to expand other’s conceptualization of the world around them, and to alert others to the very presence of God.
Therefore, study is not only a form of worship, it’s also a way to be of use to others on their path to salvation.
Dominic regarded this search for truth as a discovery of the presence of God in action. Like Dominic, we study to understand in our hearts the mysteries of deep, and sometimes difficult, theological issues. Study leads to prayer, which animates our preaching.
For over 800 years, the daughters and sons of Dominic have continued the tradition of study in search of Christ’s presence in the world. Dominic encouraged study so that we, too, may be surprised and come to know for ourselves the mysteries of the universe through God’s gift of creation. Our brother Thomas Aquinas noted that “Dominican life is characterized as contemplating and then sharing these fruits of contemplation with others.” From this contemplation flows our mission to share truth, love, hope and mercy with all whom we encounter.