By: Br. Patrick Hyde, O.P.
The wood of the desk is the wood of the Cross.
One of the brothers told me this Dominican maxim when I came on a Come and See weekend. As a teacher and lover of learning, this was a particularly enticing and intriguing way of looking at the spiritual side of study.
Study as the spirituality of a religious community might seem odd, even counter-intuitive. How can we be contemplative, sacramental, liturgical, prayerful, poor, chaste, and obedient when our noses are stuck in books? The answer is simple: We study God. We plumb the depths of his inspired words in Scripture. We carefully study the Sacred Tradition and Magisterium of the Church. We root ourselves in medio ecclesiae and explore the riches of the Sacred Sciences, theology and philosophy.
As a Dominican student brother, I, and my fellow student brothers, take seriously the model of study exhibited by St. Thomas Aquinas. Thus, we go about our studies in order to use our reason and faith to explore, understand, and explain the divine truths revealed to all men by God that are necessary for the salvation of souls.
Our study leads us deeper in the life of contemplative prayer, community, and preaching that we, as Friars Preachers, are called to live.
As a student, I have had the opportunity to study ancient Greek and, with the guidance of professors at Aquinas Institute, I have used that study to broaden and deepen my understanding of Scripture and the Church Fathers. In turn, this study has led me to know and love God in newer and more profound ways.
The wooden cross of Christ opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers. My wooden desk opens my heart, mind, and soul to know and love my Savior all the more.