Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Saint Dominic's Sixth Way of Prayer

Here St. Dominic stands in the posture of Jesus-Crucified. It is a gesture of surrender before God. Can-do people might not like this posture. Lots of folks have a tremendous need to call the shots; they micro-manage, we say. We even call them control freaks, which means we're distorted with all this controlling of others.

There are some who might even refuse this prayer disposition - afraid of how they might look in the gesture of giving up the controls. 

Standing in this posture of Jesus crucified leaves me open, vulnerable and un-defended. My hands are open: no fists, no weapons. My arms are apart: not folded angrily across the chest. 

I was recently speaking with someone who correctly assumed I was annoyed with her for some reason. She said plainly: "Tell me what's the matter. I'm a big girl. I want to know, I can take it." So I did, telling her what she does that is so off-putting. And she acknowledged it all. But we laughed in the follow-up as her urge to get defensive leaked out.

Let's try-out the saint's prayer gesture of Jesus in his deepest vulnerability. See what comes up personally. 


  1. Amen Father! Little children assume this pose when facing their mother for a face wiping or when they face a strong breeze, surrendering themselves to the feeling. They allow more vulnerability than we as adults do. That feeling of vulnerability gives us an openness.

  2. Being vulnerable is difficult for people that have been taken advantage of or abused. It is that weakness that can lead to more abuse. And there are people who give a false sense of vulnerability so that others will feel comfortable and fall into their trap. This may be the hardest prayer gesture for me Father.

    1. I understand abuse personally so I'm pleased to hear from you. I wouldn't say that vulnerability is weakness. Being vulnerable doesn't mean: "Here you go, tap dance all over me, again." For starts vulnerability might mean, I can look people in the eye, I can come out from hiding, I can accept the invitation, I allow myself to enter into friendship. God doesn't want any of us living locked away hidden lives. We weren't made for that. Living on this planet is dangerous business. Vulnerability means I step out into it. There are Holocaust survivors who picked up the pieces and re-entered life. This is difficult. But I know that even as I live, and everyday there are risks, getting into a car, crossing the street, eating restaurant food, being introduced to a stranger, I know that the things that made it possible for bad things to happen to me years ago, won't, I'd even say can't, happen again. I'm more aware now, more careful. I would know now. Vulnerability doesn't mean I have to accept being exploited, taken advantage of,used. That's just strength. There were people who wanted to exploit Jesus, "Give us a miracle Jesus. Prove yourself, Jesus," and he wouldn't allow it. But when he died, he put himself into the hands of the enemy. The vulnerability was chosen then. But the suffering to choose that and allow that was profound - hence, the Agony in the Garden. Let the prayer gesture we're talking about here be a gesture you assume just before God, who only wants what is good and best for you. Pope John Paul I - the pope that lived only thirty days said, "God, you are our father, yet you are all the more our mother, who wishes us no harm and has our best interests in mind." And even if it was a parent who abused us - God is the best of what a parent SHOULD be. I send a blessing.

  3. Blessing to you Father for teaching us. You're my favorite priest ever.