We have celebrated the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Thanksgiving, to give thanks to the God for the grace of his Epiphany, his revelation as lumen gentium, “light to all the nations”. In a most special way, we thank God for giving us St. Dominic, the founder and first friar of the Order of Preachers, whom we lovingly call as lumen ecclesiae, “light of the Church”. In simplicity and silence, we celebrate the “epiphany”, the manifestation of the love and solicitude of the Lord for St. Dominic and for the Dominican family for more than eight hundred years.
God first created light and it is marvelous how the movement of many creatures is influenced by light. Scientists call this movement phototaxis, that is, a movement with respect to a light source. Positive phototaxis is movement towards the light, conversely, negative phototaxis is movement away from the light.
St. Dominic is lumen ecclesiae because his entire life was oriented towards Christ, lumen gentium. As light, Dominic is like the moon rather than the sun. Jesus is the only true light of the word, and just like all of us who are baptized in Christ, Dominic merely reflects the light of Christ. This is what the fathers of the Church call as lunar ministry, to reflect the light of Christ, as the moon reflects the light of the sun. And we know that the brightness of moonshine depends on the moon’s position in relation to the sun. The brightness of the light we bear depends largely on our relation with Christ. Dominic is a brilliant lumen ecclesiae because his entire life is oriented and “exposed” to Christ; there is nothing that blocks the light from Christ, and so Dominic reflected this light more fully and brilliantly. Dominic did not keep to himself the spark of divine inspiration, he founded an Order of Preachers, an order of men and women dedicated to the study of truth, the preaching of grace, and the building of communities, especially the Church. And so we thank God for the gift of Dominic, lumen ecclesiae! Today, the Dominican Family all over the world celebrates the opening of the jubilee of his birth into eternal life.
In the name of the Order, I would like to thank His Eminence, Matteo Cardinal Zuppi for presiding over the Eucharistic celebration. We are also grateful for his unwavering and wholehearted support to the jubilee celebration and for his friendship and closeness with the Dominicans. We also thank the civil and religious authorities here present; and everyone who collaborated in the preparation of this solemn celebration.
I am grateful to fra Fausto Arici, prior provincial of the province of San Domenico and fra Davide Pedone, prior of this convent where the mortal remains of St. Dominic rests, and all the friars who organized this celebration.
I am also grateful to fra Philipp Wagner, chair of the Committee for the Jubilee which organized and oversee the jubilee celebration in these extraordinary times. Finally, I wish to thank fra Bruno Cadorè, former Master of the Order, who started the preparation of the commemoration of the 8th centenary of St. Dominic’s dies natalis with the help of fra Gianni Festa, Postulator General of the Order.
Br. Gerard Timoner, O.P.
Master of the Order
Bologna, 6 January 2021