800 years ago, St Dominic founded an order of friars dedicated to preaching the gospel for the salvation of souls. Ever since, men have responded to the Holy Spirit and the call from Dominic to go out and preach. Below is a list of questions and guidelines that serve as reminders, as an examen, specifically for the friars to live as Dominic envisioned. However, I firmly believe these questions are useful for all families, business, teams, and organizations desiring to live and function as Christian people. Simply change the word “brothers” and “friars” to your particular situation and “preaching” to your particular mission identity.
Do we preach as a community? (versus “my” preaching)?
How do we partner with our Nuns, apostolic sisters, and Laity to spread the gospel? Do I view them as important members of the preaching mission?
Do I seek input about my preaching? Do I give input?
Like Dominic, do I practice evangelical preaching of salvation every day? Do I view preaching as a personal mission, a mandate, a vocation?
How do I help our community preach more effectively to a wider audience? How Do I preach to the poor? How do I personally respond to the poor’s daily need?
Do we pray as a community?
Do I make a commitment to be there consistently for prayer? Is the quality of our prayer important to me? Is it harmonious, communal, and unified? Is the public invited?
Do I view community prayer as a means to help my brothers and all humankind (or as only my individual commitment)? Am I willing and do I assist in leading prayer?
Do I study, pray, and contemplate on the Word of God every day?
Do I pray every day in front of the Blessed Sacrament?
What is my relationship to the Dominican rosary? Do I pray this every day?
Do we live together as a fraternal community?
Do I show a genuine interest in my brothers? How well do I know all of them? Do I give them space, appreciation, and genuine care? Am I aware of and do I anticipate the needs of my brothers?
Does living with the brothers give joy? How important is being a family to me?
Do I ask and speak up when a brother is slipping? Do I see it as my responsibility “to go and get” a brother when he is in trouble? Do I put my brothers’ well-being before my own?
Are compassion, empathy, sharing, and forgiveness part of our community?
Do I respect the privacy and silence of the cloister (our living quarters)?
Do I make a commitment to be at meals and community recreation? Are they a reflection of the Last Supper – joy, sharing, family, celebration, and thanksgiving? Am I engaged in conversation? Do I dominate the conversation?
How do we treat our ageing and elderly?
Do I understand and appreciate the unifying identity of our common habit? Do we dialogue and find common ground about what our habit means and how our habit preaches?
Am I proud to be a part of the Province and my priory? Do I support other ministries in the province and vocation efforts?
Are a certain brother’s problems my problems and his successes my successes? Do I share my hardships and successes with my brothers? Do we laugh together?
Do I tell a brother when he is working too hard or not hard enough? Do I see potential in my brothers? Do I believe in them?
Are overall health, fitness, mental well-being, diet, and exercise part of daily and community routine? Do I encourage these habits (or hamper their practice)?
Do we live the vows as a community?
Am I obedient? Do I truly listen to and respect superiors? Am I loyal to them? Do I trust their judgment? Do I voice my disagreement professionally and privately?
Am I poor? Are we open to living more simply? Are priory belongings and technology items “mine” or the communities?
Am I chaste? How is my chastity developed over a lifetime? How am I using this gift for others?
Do I help my brothers live the vows? Do I speak up when they are not living them?
Am I accountable to my vows? Do I work to improve my weaknesses and utilize my strengths?
Do we embody the Dominican charisms?
Am I itinerant? Am I willing to move? Am I flexible and docile to the Holy Spirit?
Am I mendicant? Do I embrace poverty? Am I humble and vulnerable enough to beg?
Am I a lifelong learner? Do I seek well rounded knowledge so I can effectively dialogue with all people? Do I study for my own sake or for the preaching – the salvation of souls?
Am I inspiring my brothers to be better preachers? How well do I know today’s heresies? How am I refuting these in my preaching? What are the needs of the people today? How am I adjusting my preaching to their needs?
Do I share Dominic’s mission? Do I rely totally on the providence of God? Do I expect the unexpected from God?
Friars never talk negative about other friars to others. What happens in our community stays in our community.
We use the words “we” and “us” versus “me” and “I”.
We go and get our brother when he is in trouble.
Stop rumors by replacing them with the truth.
Build morale and spirit de corps by celebrating our brother’s successes.
We set the standard by personal example.
We don’t complain about study, prayer, chastity, poverty, obedience, community life, preaching, mendicancy, orthodoxy. We seek these and thrive because of them.
Failures are never the blame of just one person. Successes are never the result of just one person. We succeed and or fail as a unit. We own the problem / solution. We are the problem / solution. If the Province is struggling, it is my problem. If any priory or ministry is struggling, it is my problem. Any success is our success.
Teamwork and loyalty are a 2 way street. We give our obedience, work, and loyalty to our superiors and the Order. The Order and our superiors provide security, recognition, support, development, and community.
Stand up for what is right; accept responsibilities for actions.