In the Dominican tradition, study is essentially a reflective pondering on the word of God and on the world we live in.
Such study, rooted in prayer, opens our minds to truth. It helps to discern in faith the real needs of people through an understanding of their thought and culture. The purpose of our study, as understood by St. Dominic, is so to transform us that we become lights of the world and preachers of a life-giving word. (Constitutions 33)
The place of study is very important in our Dominican life. However, it does not mean straightforward intellectual pursuits, as some might be tempted to think. All our study, no matter its subject, has a purpose, for it has its source in compassion and is orientated towards the salvation of souls. Our study transforms us, compelling us to live the compassion of Jesus Christ.
Study and reflection open our minds, leading us to perceive and understand the complex reality of our world in the light of the Gospel. Only when we understand the society in which we live can we promote what is right and good, and challenge what is unjust and must be changed. With such understanding we become more effective preachers of the Good News of God’s grace and human freedom
The study of Scripture and Theology is an essential part of our Dominican formation, and is a life-long pursuit. It has both a contemplative and an intellectual dimension, each feeding into and growing out of the other. Our study is never detached from pastoral commitments and concerns, but ought to shed light on them and prepare us to respond more effectively to the needs and sufferings of those around us.
‘Study is part of our community life so that we enter into deep conversation with others in the search for truth, truth that will make us free. Study is for wisdom to understand each other. Blessed Jordan of Saxony said that St. Dominic understood everything through the humble intelligence of his heart. We too need to study with the heart.’
Dominican study is grounded in our apostolic commitment to preach the Gospel, to build up our faith, and to advance the Catholic Religion.