“I, brother N.N. make profession and promise obedience to God, to blessed Mary, and to blessed Dominic, and to you brother Bruno Cadore, Master of the Order of Friars Preachers and to your successors, according to the rule of blessed Augustine and the institutions of the Friars Preachers, that I will be obedient to you and your successors until death.”
By these words, men throughout the 800 year history of the Order of Preachers have freely chosen to consecrate themselves to the Lord, following in the footsteps of Saint Dominic, who dedicated his entire life to preaching the word of God.
Religious consecration involves a radical living out of the Gospel message. Those who profess chastity, poverty, and obedience renounce the natural goods of the world: marriage, money and self-determination. They embrace this manner of life as a means of achieving more perfect union with God in this life, and witnessing to the perfect union that is to come in the next.
In Christian Totality: Theology of the Consecrated Life, Father Basil Cole, O.P., and Paul Conner, O.P. explain: “The chastity of consecrated men and women proclaims the love to which the incarnate Word bears total human witness…Their poverty declares that God is our only treasure…Their free and creative obedience declares that Jesus is infinitely loved…”
This is not done in reluctance, for fidelity to the religious life serves as a liberating force. The evangelical counsels bring the life of a consecrated religious to “fuller, more explicit and authentic configuration” to Christ. Religious men and women experience an intensification of their baptismal consecration. Thus consecrated life is often called the life of perfection, because–with the help of God’s grace–we walk the path towards perfect holiness.
For the Dominican friar, his religious consecration facilitates a daily encounter with God through contemplation of the truth, allowing him to grow in faith, hope, and charity. Driven by this love of God, he cannot help but to proclaim Christ to the world in order to bring others to salvation.
Christian Totality: Theology of the Consecrated Life by Fr. Basil Cole, O.P., and Fr. Paul Conner, O.P.