Perseverance in Fidelity to Our Founding Charism

Pope Francis, our shepherd, writes to us Dominicans “imploring [for us] the grace of perseverance in fidelity to [our] founding charism”, so that we may participate in the work of the universal Church. Nor could it be otherwise, since the Order of Preachers, as a group of proclaimers of Grace and the Gospel, shares in the mission of the Church itself as proclaimer and preacher of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

From the 13th century to the present day many things have changed, but Dominic’s work is still present, effective and alive: the Order of Preachers:  a work destined for its time and which history has shown to be relevant in all times. The need to make the Gospel and the Good News known to the men and women of our societies is undeniable today. There are many who have never heard of it, others who have forgotten it, others who have only heard false news about Jesus Christ, others who are confused and disoriented. But the need for the Order of Preachers is not only justified by its ever-present mission of proclamation, but also because of its method and way of life: starting from a life of faith and prayer as source and nourishment; a community life in simplicity and fraternity; the study of the Truth in order to make it known. If we do not have prayers, nor methods of study, nor edifying exhortations coming directly from Dominic, we have a certainty that he left us a form of government in which Pope Francis finds an evangelical and synodal basis. All Dominicans experience it in the day to day life of our institutions, whatever our way of life: as lay people, nuns, friars, religious in active life, members of secular institutes, priestly fraternities or members of the Youth Movement. The notion of being brothers and sisters, which leads us to treat decisions as equals, the free debate where consensus is sought as a method of decision-making whenever possible; democratic decision and election, the limitation in time of mandates and their renewal, the transparency of decisions, the participation of all in the decision-making process, are key elements in our life and have been the support of unity, and of the always renewed strength necessary to carry out the mission of preaching. It is in this process that the Spirit can be manifested, not by an individual, but as a result of the search for truth on the part of all. Pope Francis reminds us precisely that Dominic left us the means to avoid clericalism, and that the Order and the Dominican Family in their diversity and complementarity of states and forms of life preserve their evangelising mission in unity.

Gabriel Silva, O.P. (laity)
Coordinator of the International Council of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic

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