The Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic
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The Seventh Way of Prayer
While praying, he was often seen to reach towards heaven like an arrow which has been shot from a taut bow straight upwards into the sky. He would stand with hands outstretched above his head and joined together, or at times slightly separated as if about to receive something from heaven. One would believe that he was receiving an increase of grace and in this rapture of spirit was asking God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the Order he had founded.
He seemed to seek for himself and his brethren something of that transcendent joy which is found in living the beatitudes, praying that each would consider himself truly blessed in extreme poverty, in bitter mourning, in cruel persecutions, in a great hunger and thirst for justice, in anxious mercy towards all. His entreaty was that his children would find their delight in observing the commandments and in the perfect practice of the evangelical counsels. Enraptured, the holy father then appeared to have entered into the Holy of Holies and the Third Heaven. After prayer of this kind he truly seemed to be a prophet, whether in correcting the faulty, in directing others, or in his preaching.
Our holy father did not remain at prayer of this type very long but gradually regained full possession of his faculties. He looked during that time like a person coming from a great distance or like a stranger in this world, as could easily be discerned from his countenance and manner. The brethren would then hear him praying aloud and saying as the prophet: “Hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication which I pray to thee, when I lift up my hands to thy holy temple” (Ps. 27:2).
Through his words and holy example he constantly taught the friars to pray in this way, often repeating those phrases from the psalms: “Behold, now bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord … in the nights lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord” (Ps. 133:1-3), “I have cried to thee, O Lord, hear me; hearken to my voice when I cry to thee. Let my prayer be directed as incense in they sight; the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Ps. 140:1-2). The drawing shows us this mode of prayer so that we may better understand it.
The text was taken from the book St. Dominic: Biographical Documents, edited by Fr. Francis C. Lehner, O.P. The chapter “The Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic” was translated by Fr. Andrew Kolzow, O.P.
“The Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic” from St. Dominic: Biographical Documents, © 1964 by The Thomist Press.
Nihil obstat: Reverend A. D. Lee, O.P. Censor Deputatus
Imprimatur: Patrick A. O’Boyle Archbishop of Washington