This Dominican vision of contemplation is not an isolated activity but something exercised in community, for as God says to St Catherine of Siena, “I preferred to give different gifts to different people, so that they would all need each other.”
Dominicans see our fraternal life as God’s gift to us, for in our fraternal life we learn to love and to grow in friendship. As fr Timothy explains: “Central to the theology of St Thomas Aquinas was the friendship which is at the heart of God’s life, a friendship we are called to share. Personally, I believe that many of the distinctive elements of our way of life are marked by this idea of friendship. It is God’s friendship and love that we preach; our life of fraternity is marked by it.”
Therefore, the Constitutions direct that “so that each convent may be a fraternal community, all should accept and embrace each other as members of the same body, different indeed in talent and responsibilities, but equal in the bond of charity and profession” (LCO 4 § I). In this way, our Dominican life mirrors, however dimly and imperfectly, the very life of the God whom we contemplate and preach to all nations.