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2001-07-23

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Homily of Norman A. Haddad, O.P.
Prior Provincial, Province of Saint Joseph

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Mass of the Holy Spirit
Saturday, 14 July 2001 (Day of Election of New Master)

We come before the Lord in this Mass, seeking the grace of the Holy Spirit. We are to elect a Master from among our bothers, to lead the Order in new times, and to help the Order realize its mission to proclaim the Word of God in a world that is desperate to hear that Word.

I begin with the invitation to remember God's call to become a Dominican in each of our lives. Fifty years ago, I came to a realization of that call in the Aquinas Hall Chapel across the way from this one. I was a second-year student here at Providence College and I began to pray about the direction of my life. I came to realize a vocation to the priesthood and then to the religious life. The most attractive way was the way of Dominic as I experienced it in the friars who were our teachers, our guides and our friends. Each one of us is here because we received a call-I am sure, in many different ways. And we responded to that call to become a member of Dominic's family. We responded in faith, and we were accepted in faith.

Today's readings offer powerful insights on that call and the living dynamism of God's presence in who we are and what we are called to be and to do.

In the Letter to the Ephesians, we read these words: "In him [Christ] you were chosen: when you heard the glad tidings, the word of truth, when you believed in it, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit." It seems to me that our vocations, our acceptance of God's call, and our acceptance into the Order sealed us in the Spirit as Dominicans. I also believe that the living out of this vocation is a continuous process of invitation, acceptance and empowerment-God constantly inviting and we continually accepting in faith-the ongoing basis for living out the demands of our vocation.

Re-ordering the words of the Gospel, "My Father will love anyone who loves me; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him. . . . The Holy Spirit will instruct you in everything and remind you of all that I told you."

What is it that Dominicans do? For the moment, I lift up two things.

We preach-the gift of Dominic's vision for ministry. W meet God in the word, our world, our prayer, our communal and apostolic life. As we experience this word and allow it to become more a part of our life, we experience something new and incarnational. We then join with the Father and the Son to express the power of the Spirit in our proclamation of the faith that has become part of us.

The second thing we do is elect. This is another gift of Dominic's vision for his Order-allowing us to share in the responsibility and privilege to choose our superiors. It seems to me that the underlying process is the same. Drawing on the gift of the Spirit, we trust in the power we have received to choose in Christ's name. Our prayer to the Holy Spirit, invoking his aid in this election, is our act of faith that empowers our vote.

We may not know all the candidates, or even many things about them, but our insight-greater than the straws of the Acts of the Apostles-is empowered by the same Spirit to choose God's candidate. We must also remember that we do not believe or act alone. Our individual and corporate act of faith is supported by the men and women who belong to the family of Dominic and who join us in prayer, as well as of the countless men and women who look to us to be all that God calls us to be.

So rejoice, my brothers in the Lord our God. Respond in faith to the invitation that is before us. Trust in the insight that is within and know the great hope that is in our calling. Recognize in the Spirit the rich heritage that is our share. Use the immeasurable power of the Spirit in us who believe. puce

 

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