To Die Like a Dominican

September 14, 2011

One of the jokes that often get told in Dominican circles concerns what is termed “the Good Life.” We say that the good life consists in three things: To live like a Jesuit, dine like a Franciscan, and to die like a Dominican. But what, you may ask, is so great about dying like a Dominican?

There are many traditions that we have concerning devotion to our deceased brethren. If we are privileged to be present at the death of a brother, we are to commend his soul to the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary by chanting the Dominican version of the Salve Regina. Further, the house where the brother was assigned is asked to pray the office of the dead for him and everyone in the province is required to pray one rosary for him and to say or attend one mass for his soul.

But our prayers for our Dominican brothers do not stop there. Every year we celebrate a Mass for all our Dominican departed on November 8. We also say a Mass for all benefactors and friends of the order on September 5, and one for deceased family members on February 7. But our prayers do not stop there. Every week, each house of the province must say at least one Mass and each Dominican must pray one rosary for the deceased of the province. Finally, every evening, usually before dinner, we pray the De Profundis (Ps. 130) for all those who died the following day in all the American provinces.

As you can see, we have a great devotion to our dead and one of the great consolations of being a Dominican is knowing that your brothers will pray for you continually after you die. However, it can be a two way street. Our Holy Father Dominic on his death bed promised to be more helpful to his brethren once he was before God. We also have the assurance that when our departed brothers come before the Lord they too will pray for us who are still in the fight for souls here on earth.

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