dear brothers and sisters,
can we allow the echo of what we have contemplated here, what we
have heard and touched with our hands in Providence, how can we
make the echo of all this heard and felt by our brothers and sisters?
Since 1220 General Chapters have asked the same question. Even before
the invention of printing they foresaw ways which facilitated brothers
to take back to their provinces and communities the echoes, the
decisions and the work of the General Chapter.
effect each brother who has a vote ought to come to the General
Chapter with his copy of the book of constitutions of his own province.
The capitular brothers will need delicately to amend this book or
add to it, based on the changes voted during the Chapter. When the
Province celebrates its Chapter, ideally the brothers ought to come
with a copy of the constitutions of their own community, in order
carefully to carry out the same task. In this way the brothers "indicate
their presence" at the Chapter and, in their turn, indicate
to their own communities their presence at the Chapter, handing
on to them the "echoes" of what was discussed and defined
by the whole Order. Nevertheless, not all the brothers did their
work as "revisers" or copyists with the same level of
refined accuracy. And thus there was a fair share of confusion.
Nothing much has changed!
lovely are the feet of the messengers who, going down the gentle
hill of Providence, announce peace and bring good news to their
brothers! The brothers in our provinces and priories who are keeping
vigil before our return anxiously await us and will announce our
return with shouts of joy - I hope!. The provincials and deffinitors
will return carrying a message!
can we respond more and better to the invitation of Fray George,
"Please indicate that you are present"? How can we present
in our communities what has been contemplated, seen and heard in
this Chapter? How to present to the world the fruit of these four
weeks of work?
is perhaps worth recalling that the major artists of the Renaissance
who were expert at painting frescos designed the overall outline
of their work and left the completion of the work to their own disciples,
who then defined and gave life and colour to the details. In a similar
fashion Dominic left us the principal outlines magisterially - they
called him Master Dominic - those delicate outlines and fundamentals
which gave life to the Order. His brothers and sisters have continued
for nearly eight hundred years to give new life and colour to that
outline traced by Dominic, giving exact shape to those magisterial
drafts in different contexts, in very different languages and cultures,
in different geographical locations.
John of Fiesole (Beato Angelico) - like many artists - painted his
own brothers from different communities into his work in order to
lend it more life and realism.
too will take back to our communities the notes and marginal remarks
- amendments to this paragraph, work in the commission, a point
of order, article fourteen (so often quoted). And yet in the very
texts we have approved we recognise and recognise once more the
faces of our brothers. In this petition one sees the tired gesture
of the president of a commission who spreads his arms wide in satisfied
pride after having fought as with a dagger to defend his text. Different
texts and different sentences. The faces of brothers and sisters
smiles, and sometimes anxiety in our faces, and always words of
grace and truth!
this month, calmly faithful to our apostolic vocation, we have sought
to announce the word, in season and out of season, reproving, ordering,
exhorting, recommending with much patience and doctrine
gospel text speaks of the apostles worshipping Jesus, although some
doubted. In an analogous fashion the same happens in our case, faced
with the decisions we have taken. We bow our head, we accept obediently,
but nonetheless we doubt. We harbour doubt about the effectiveness
of the constitutions we have approved
the commissions we have
the Master you have elected
the commissions we
have requested. The efficiency of what has been dealt with and defined
find ourselves today as we have done each day in this splendid octagonal
church of St Dominic, looking at the altar of the word and of the
bread of life. We contemplate the brothers and sisters commemorated
in the stained glass windows, and those of whom the Chapter has
requested canonization: Brother Bartolome de Las Casas and Sister
Teresa Chikaba. It would seem that some of our desires were crystallized
during this Chapter. Downstairs, in the octagonal Chapter Room -
without windows - light passed rather through the faces of each
and every one of our brothers and sisters. Living images of God!
Sure, it is possible that one might occasionally doubt, asking in
the secret of his heart, is this brother really a Dominican? Our
calm soul replies, Yes, he is. We are really Dominicans, we love
the contemplated Word, the word that is professed, sought after,
just as we love a person
and we want the world to know it.
like the brothers on that Dominican Pentecost (August 1217) we shall
go, like seeds scattered in the air. It is not good that the grain
be stored and go bad. The seed must rather be sown worldwide.
Dominic, after spending long nights in contemplative prayer, made
a habit of going to the dormitory and contemplating the sleeping
brothers, and to cover one with a sheet if necessary. A gesture
that reveals exquisite maternal delicacy.
leave here marked by what we have seen and heard, what our hands
have touched: the magnificent campus of Providence, the environment
which was splendid, the liturgy which fr Jim and his team have enlivened,
the work of fr George and his collaborators, the simultaneous translators
and translators of texts, all amounting to a magnificent spectacle
which even the more difficult discussions offered us.
wonderful it would be if we were to offer our brothers and sisters
gestures like those of St Dominic! Who knows if we should go around
at night to the cells where our brothers are, in order to cover
them for the night? (Would we find them there?) But certainly we
could sing a song to our brothers! (a cradle song, or a rocking
). We could fill our hearts with the music of God,
perhaps like many provincials in these past few days, sing a song!
These will be the comments in the margin we offer, the little side-notes,
the echoes of the Chapter of Providence. We all want finally to
sing the greatness of the Lord, who has looked on the lowliness
of his servants.
the course of the last nine years, fray Timothy has invited us insistently
to praise, to bless and to preach. To sing a new song! Divine providence
concludes our brother Timothy's term as Master. Dear Timothy, you
are not going away! You are staying with us because you will always
be a brother preacher to the day you die. Furthermore, you will
be a capitular brother always - unless there be others who think
differently and tie a belt around you and lead you where you would
not like to go! Will this not be the only way you use a cincture
or a belt? Do you not agree!?
have given us the gift of different musical notes during the last
nine years, in order to sing this new song. This we have wished
to do during this Chapter.
Vowed to Mission :Challenges (French and English)
RE The Wellspring of Hope :Intellectual Life
MI Dominican Freedom & Responsibility : Government, LCO, Economics
FA The Promise of Life: Fraternal Life
SO Letter to those in initial formation Formation : Vocations
LA St Catherine, Patroness of Europe : Dominican Family
TI A Contemplative Life : Contemplation; nuns
shall invite you again and again: Play it again Tim!
not say farewell to you, because you are not going away. Thank you,
my brother and my friend. An Argentinean succeeds an English brother,
with pride in his heart, just as you succeeded with pride a great
preaching brother, a true itinerant missionary Irishman.
shall go down the hill of Providence, we will be seed scattered
in the air in order to look like what we have recognised here. It
will be a new way of "indicating that we are present"!
true to your vocation as an evangelist, complete your ministry even
unto perfection. My brothers and sisters, the Order is our family
and it is this family which has saved us from our mean spirited
and unbridled egoism. It is this Order which set us on the path
of service to the Church as preachers of the Gospel.
us always be conscious of our mission. Let us keep always in our
mind and heart the true and profound needs of men and women. Let
us walk on, poor, free, strong, and loving Christ. Let us complete
what is the duty which derives from the circumstances we meet, with
gusto, in a simple fashion, humbly, and with strength, as it is
the will of the Lord. Let us do immediately, well and with generosity,
what the Church and the world expects of us, even if it cost us
our very lives.
the Lord model the clay that we are and transform us into an offering
for the multitude, providing light and colour as the logs on the
fire which burn for those who are poor.
Señor que nuestra vida sea,
como una quena simple y recta;
para que tú puedas llenarla
llenarla con tu musica.
que nuestra vida sea,
arcilla blanda entre tus manos;
para que tú puedas formarla
formarla a tu manera.
que nuestra vida sea
semilla suelta por el aire;
para que tú puedas sembrarla,
sembrarla donde quieras.
que nuestra vida sea
leñita humilde y siempre seca;
para que tú puedas quemarla,
quemarla para el pobre.
it not seem to you like a new way of "indicating that you are
present"? Only this time the voting will not close: living
our vows (and voting) is a way of life for us!