With the approval of the General Chapter of Bologna (ACG 2016 Bologna, 244), I promulgate by this letter the new Ratio Formationis Generalis (RFG) which «lays down general spiritual principles and basic training norms for forming the brothers, leaving the provinces to develop their own norms as time and place demand» (LCO 163).
This Ratio replaces the one which has been in effect since 1987. It is the fruit of a broad process of consultation with the provinces and formators in the different regions of the Order, conducted by the general council and the socius in charge of initial formation. I thank very much all those who have participated in the elaboration of this Ratio – of which the original version is in English. It is now up to each province to proceed with the updating of its own Ratio Formationis Particularis (RFP), on the basis of the Ratio Generalis (ACG 2016 Bologna, 245), and then to submit it to the general council for approval. The Socius for Fraternal Life and Formation will be specifically responsible to accompany this process.
For the first time this Ratio is addressed to all the brothers, whether they are in initial formation or not. Indeed, for several general chapters now, the continuity between initial formation and permanent formation has been highlighted, along with the importance of each of us giving equal attention to these two dimensions of formation. Once again, formation is presented in this Ratio as a path, a school of apostolic life, highlighting both the primary responsibility of each of the brothers for his own formation, but also the responsibility of the communities and the provinces which have the task of supporting each one in the ongoing process of renewal of his own vocation to become an « evangelical and apostolic man ». As a school of life, our formation leads us, each according to the stage of our life, to contemplate in the heart of our life the grace of the Word that we want to preach. Thus, formation invites us to unite ourselves to Christ, the path of truth which leads to life, and to focus our life on the quest for truth. As a school of preachers, initial and permanent formation guides us on the path of apostolic obedience which makes us free to allow the Spirit to establish in us the compassion of Christ and his ardent desire that the world should have life and be saved.
The primitive Constitutions, in the chapter about the novitiate, referred to the call of Christ «Learn from me». «Come and see», Philip said to Nathanael. «Go and preach», the Apostles echoed to Dominic. It is this purpose that determines formation for all ages of the Dominican life, and brings together our diversity in the unity of a communion of «holy preaching».
(27 December 2016)