In The Nine Ways of Prayer, Simon Tugwell, OP offers us a glimpse of St. Dominic. A prayerful man, Dominic often prayed through gestures most often while lying prostrate before God. ‘His heart,’ we are told, ‘would be pricked with compunction, and he would blush at himself and say, sometimes loudly enough for it actually to be heard, the words from the Gospel: “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” At prayer it seems, Dominic could hardly contain himself. Often, he would cry out to God at the top of his voice.
Dominic experienced prayer as an intimate and personal conversation with God. He would often be found in positions of surrender. Here, he was able to express unity of mind, body, and spirit. Through words and gestures, he was totally immersed in the presence of God.
Paul Murray, OP suggests Dominic experienced a “profound contemplative love of God.” Murray believes that this is the core at the heart of prayer of Dominican preachers. He states “there is always something of that common neediness, and that Gospel simplicity. When at prayer, these preachers are not afraid to speak to God directly, as to a friend. But always they return instinctively to the straightforward Gospel prayer of petition.”
One way in which we are invited each and every day to experience this same love and presence of God is through our prayer and contemplation. We are called to befriend God just as Dominic did. Our lives as Dominicans should be centered on Jesus Christ who is our way, truth, and light. Combining body, mind and spirit leads to a balance of the contemplative and the active stance which we are called to live out. Through this balance, as suggested on the Dominican Witness website, our prayer is fully human and we will be moved by the “Holy Spirit who radiates God’s healing presence in the world today.”