The DominicOption

A couple of years ago, the Benedict Option was the answer to countering the alarming secularization of our culture.  This morning, I read Father James Dominic Rooney, O.P.'s article in America, "City of God", pp. 20-22, America, April 18, 2016. Father Rooney proposes another way to counter the culture--the Dominic Option.

The Benedict Option was made popular by writer, Rod Dreher, who writes for the American Conservative.  Dreher explains that St. Benedict left the craziness of the Western Roman Empire and formed a community of monks to pray. These Benedictine monks kept the faith alive.

In the 1980's, Alasdair MacIntyre wrote a book, After Virtue, which proposed that moral people get together to oppose the crazy secular culture, which touted immorality. Families had to be strong.  Communities had to stand together.

Father Dominic explains that the Benedictines were the first monks.  The Benedict Option was a good first response.  It offers a time of reflection.  But after the Benedictines, came the Dominicans and Franciscans.  Their charism takes the Benedictine's prayer component into the market place.  The Dominicans

          ...take traditional monastic contemplative living, to unite it to apostolic ministry in 
          preaching and care of souls in cities and to found third orders--associations in which 
          the ordinary lay faithful could associate themselves to a worldwide order through
          promises of conversion and the following of a rule of life. The priory then becomes 
          not only a contemplative haven for the friars themselves but a hub for a "community 
          of love" that extends into all ways and walks of life.

Well what do you know!  I've been living the Dominic Option without knowing it.  My Lay Dominican community is a third order.  And is not my chapter, Our Lady of Mercy, a community of love that lights up the world we live in?

My chapter is a Eucharistic community within a prison.  We have definite prayers, traditions and practices grounded in a living doctrinal commitment to Catholicism and desiring to transform our world, not become isolated from it, like the Benedict Option.  We certainly are in the midst of a very worldly, secular, dark place.

It's certainly comforting to know we are on the right path.


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