Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dominican Prayer Day 15

Finally I get back on track with this experiment.  For the record I did not mean to skip any days.  But there has been some difficulty in attempting this next method of prayer.

Recall in my last entry that fasting is involved in the Third Way.  That is somewhat true.  At least that is what the book recommends.  St. Dominic would beat himself with a chain in the Third Way while meditating on his death.  The book assumes that moderns are doughy and soft and therefore our skin starts to bleed at the thought of self-mortification.  And so recommends fasting.

Unfortunately my mind would not cooperate and I kept forgetting to fast this week.  A good day of light intake of food ended in a reckless and gluttonous consumption for dinner.  Or breakfast would be light only to have a smashingly huge lunch.  Time and again I would forget that I was attempting to fast.

So finally decided last night to do the prayer anyway.  I was kinda hungry, so I figured that it counted.

Anyway, the main point of the Third Way is to meditate on the fact that we are going to die.  Far from being morbid however it is actually an attempt to get one to focus on preparing one's soul in this life.  The book offers several questions like

"Imagine yourself on your deathbed."
"Who is with you?"
"What are they saying?"

Some interesting thoughts about that.  My other research says that the mortification was the main means of the Third Way.  But this should only be done under the direction of a spiritual director or confessor due to concerns of the sin of pride.

I have mixed feelings about this.  One the one hand, the book has so far not deviated from what other research I've found on the subject.  This is the first time that we have taken a real sharp turn.

On the other, I know all too well that mortification of the flesh without guidance is quite dangerous both physically and spiritually.  So if I can't even remember to fast I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be whipping myself until I get better control over my senses.

Enough meta.  I'll post my thoughts about the actual way I'm practicing next time.


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