It may seem like the question you need to answer is “Should I become a Lay Dominican?” because ultimately that is what the process of discernment will help you decide; but practically, God usually asks us to simply take one step at a time– to answer the immediate question before us.
For someone beginning this process, the immediate question is: “Is God inviting me to contact a fraternity?” If that answer appears to be yes, then the next question will be: “Is God inviting me to begin postulancy with this fraternity?” and so on. You won’t approach the final question of “Is God inviting me to make final profession?” until you’ve been through all the other stages first.
If we take discernment one step at a time, we avoid many of the pitfalls of over-thinking, over-complicating, or even distracting ourselves from the presence of God in this moment. God never asks us to commit to something in the abstract many years down the road: He only ever asks us to say “Yes” to Him in the concrete situation of right now.
If you decide to pursue formation with the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic, your formation director and fraternity members are there to help assist you with the discernment process along the way. It also is helpful to have a Spiritual Director, and to be open with your family and friends about where you think God is working in this aspect of your life.
If you are still unsure about the Dominicans, praying about the following questions may be a good place to start: but keep in mind that a “no” answer to any of these questions does not necessarily mean that you are not called to this life, just as “yes” answers to all of the questions do not mean you certainly are called! Discernment is a process of ongoing dialogue between you, God, and the Lay Fraternity.
- Desire for personal sanctification and the salvation of souls through preaching of the Gospel
- A love of Truth (VERITAS, which is the motto of the Order)
- A desire to becoming One Mind and One Heart with Christ
- A desire to work for unity in the Body of Christ
- Devotion to the Blessed Mother, especially in the recitation of the Rosary
- Devotion to Dominican Saints and Blesseds
- Devotion to the Passion of Our Lord
- A desire to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
- A contemplative spirit which loves to pray and share the gifts given to you in prayer
- An apostolic heart which seeks to serve God and neighbor
- A desire for a rich liturgical life, most especially in the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours
- A studious nature that leads you to deeper love of God and the Church
- Fidelity to the Magisterium
- A desire to defend the faith and morals of the Church from attacks both religious and secular
- A penitential heart which seeks to make reparation for sin and grow in God’s grace