Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Letter from Master of the Order on 'The Dominican Laity and Preaching'.

As part of the lead up to the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Order in 2016, the Master fr Bruno has written a letter to the Order on the 'Dominican Laity and Preaching'.

It is an extensive letter for all the members of the Order the Master sets out the primary purpose of all Dominicans embodied in the motto 'sent to preach the Gospel'. Fr Bruno notes that while the motto is simple it focuses our attention on what is at the heart of the service that the Church expects of the Order: to proclaim the Gospel.

Here are some helpful quotations from the letter:

"The unity of our Order is in fact given by its evangelising mission: laity, sisters and friars of the Order are members of a single family whose identity is that they were sent to preach the gospel. Or rather, we might say that the 'Dominican' identity is precisely that of a family - of a 'communion' - constituted by this organic bond between evangelisation and the contemplation of that truth that is the living Word that has come into the world, what we try to develop in the three forms of prayer, study and fraternity, each in the specific manner of his/her state in life."

"Among these Lay Dominicans, the members of these Lay Dominican Fraternities clearly have an important place, choosing as they do to commit themselves with a promise to carry out this specific participation in the mission of Christ as members of the Order. They also register their commitment to the living Word not only for the whole of their lives as baptised persons but also within the balance of the whole of their commitments and of their lives which they want to be 'preaching', serving the conversation of God with the world. At the same time, they register for the duration of the life of the Order, the need to preach the Word, always referring this preaching to the constitution of the church of Christ seeking communion and unity. As we know well, today we must reflect on the diversity at the heart of these fraternities, seeking together how we may always best accept, promote and combine this diversity , brought together in a single concrete witness of a lay life that seeks to be preaching."

"It seems to me that lay Dominicans can allow the preaching of the Order to achieve its end more fully in several ways. As in the case of the sisters and friars in the Order, the preaching of lay Dominicans is rooted in the experience of life. This is why the wealth of their specific contribution to the preaching of the Order comes from their experience of family and professional life, their experience of parenthood, their experience of life in the Church, the experience of being young in contemporary society, the particular experience of the baptised person who must testify his/her faith in the midst of a family or a group of friends whom s/he is daily bound by ties of affection but who do not share the same faith and often show no desire to share it....Moreover, they know the difficulty of witnessing the faith in a specific manner: in may places in the contemporary world, the habitual situation of a lay person brings her/him face to face with indifference, scepticism and unbelief, in a very different way from religious, and this must come to enrich the preaching of the Order as a whole. Similarly, through the activities of their professional,  family or political life, lay persons experience how the Christian demands for fraternity and truth, according to which they try to contribute to the transformation of the world, are a form of preaching essentially linked to their state, which comes to be combined with the preaching of the whole 'family of preachers.'"

For the full text of this excellent letter, click on the link:  http://www.op.org/sites/www.op.org/files/public/documents/fichier/cadore-jubilee2014-en.pdf

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