The chief aim of every religious, regardless of what institute he or she may belong to, is the attainment of personal holiness, of union with God in charity. Many orders use the same general means to reach this end, namely, the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. However, each order has a specific end and therefore, in addition to the three vows, there will be a specific means of reaching this end.
What, then, is the specific aim of the Dominican Order?
Our constitutions tell us that: “The special end for which the Dominican Order has been brought into being by the Providence of God,…is the salvation of souls by the ministry of teaching and preaching.”
Our holy Father St Dominic, in direct imitation of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, breathed love for souls. Indeed, he was so aflame with love for souls that he would often be seen to weep in prayer and to be heard crying out, “What shall become of sinners?”
His brethren were to be luminaries not only by word but also be example – through contemplation the Dominican loves God so much that he must love his neighbour and become an apostle. He cannot rest until he proclaims God’s glory to the whole world.
O wonderful hope,
which thou gave to those who wept for you
at the hour of thy death,
promising after death
you would be helpful to your brethern!
Fulfill, O Father, what you have said,
and help us by thy prayers.