Another Dominican motto familiar to many is contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere, "to contemplate and hand on to others the fruits of contemplation," a phrase articulated by St. Thomas Aquinas. Prayerful contemplation was central to St. Dominic: he recognized that a strong spiritual life, a sound relationship with God, and the prayerful processing of information and experience were all necessary to the life of an active Christian and effective preacher. Without the nourishment that solitude provides, without the strength of conviction that prayer imparts, without the spiritual grounding that is derived from connecting with God, all study and action would lack meaning and truth.
While prayer and contemplation were important to the monastic life of various Orders before Dominic’s time, and have been through today, the contemplative spirit for Dominicans has never intended to distance an individual from the world. Rather, its goal has always been to draw a person more deeply into the mystery of life and to enable a true encounter with the Divine. To Dominicans, contemplation is not in opposition to ministry; it is, in fact, a necessary precursor to any meaningful ministry and an essential ingredient to the pursuit of truth. In the bustle of a modern world focused on activity and busyness, setting aside time for contemplation is one of the great challenges for Dominicans today, but also perhaps the greatest gift Dominicans can give themselves and others.
Prayer and Contemplation are two of many values Dominicans hold dear: