Ways of praying

Daily Reading for August 8 • Dominic, Priest and Friar, 1221

Sometimes, when he was in a convent, our holy father Dominic would stand upright before the altar, not leaning on anything or supported by anything, but with his whole body standing straight up on his feet. Sometimes he would hold his hands out, open, before his breast, like an open book, and then he would stand with great reverence and devotion, as if he were reading in the presence of God. Then in his prayer he would appear to be pondering the words of God and, as it were, enjoying reciting them to himself.

At other times, he joined his hands and held them tightly fastened together in front of his eyes, hunching himself up. At other times he raised his hands to his shoulders, in the manner of a priest saying Mass, as if he wanted to fix his ears more attentively on something that was being said to him by somebody else. If you had seen his devotion as he stood there erect in prayer, you would have thought you were looking at a prophet conversing with an angel or with God, now talking, now listening, now thinking quietly about what had been revealed to him.

From the Fifth Way of Prayer in “The Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic,” in Early Dominicans: Selected Writings by Simon Tugwell, in the Classics of Western Spirituality series (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1982).

Past Posts