The Book of Constitutions and Ordinations of the Brothers of the Order of Preachers, or LCO for short, provides four major elements to the way in which a Dominican follows Christ: religious consecration, liturgy and prayer, study, and the ministry of the Word. Each of the elements is essential, and the whole must be simultaneously maintained for the full vibrancy of Dominican life to be revealed.
Already we see just within this schematic outline the dynamic tension at the heart of the Dominican life: Dominicans are not half-contemplative and half-apostolic, but fully both at the same time. These two are not in conflict, but in counter-position, each driving the other to be more fruitfully and completely lived. The goal of the Dominican life is not to contemplate at some times and to preach at other times, but to develop a contemplative vision, enabling the friar to “pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph 6:18), living his life as an act of preaching, a holy witness to the abiding presence of Jesus Christ. It is for this reason that the Dominican conventual life has been known as “the holy preaching”; because even in his moments of repose and restoration, the Dominican’s life is to be a harmonious clarion to the Kingdom of God.