May 14, 2007

If Christians believed in reincarnation, we should wish that at least in one life we’d exist as a Dominican. What stimulating company we would join: Dominic, Catherine of Siena, Mechtild of Magdeburg and Thomas Aquinas in medieval times, and Yves Congar, Edward Schillebeeckx and Herbert McCabe in modern times. These three books serve as a guide to what life as a Dominican would be like:

The motto of the Dominicans—the order of preachers—is truth, and their mission is “to pass on to others what we ourselves have contemplated.” This process of transmission involves study, contemplation and preaching. Murray uses the drinking of wine as a metaphor for Dominican spirituality; Dominicans aren’t ascetics like the Franciscans, and they enjoy the fruit of the vine.

The Dominican Tradition introduces 15 prominent Dominicans, starting with Dominic himself and ending with Timothy Radcliffe (see next entry). A bibliography on each is included.

Radcliffe, a popular Dominican writer and speaker who has been involved in an AIDS ministry, recognizes that the point of faith is to point us to the God who is the measure of all relevance. Yet faith should make a difference in how we live. The difference it makes is this book’s point.

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