"My dear sisters and lay associates,
Here we come again, joyfully, to this year’s solemn celebration of the feast of our beloved Founder, Saint Dominic. To all of you and to each one of you, my most sincere wishes that it may be a feast of praise to God and of renewal of our lives, as we contemplate the example and work of Saint Dominic.
Together let us halt for a moment to meditate on the figure, also the ideals, of our great Father. To do this, I have allowed myself to be inspired by what God the Father says to Saint Catherine in their colloquy reported in the Dialogue: “Your Father Dominic, my most dear son, wanted his followers to have no other thought than my honour and the salvation of souls, through the light of Wisdom. And he made this light the main purpose of his Order, with which to banish the errors which in his time were widely diffused. He took on himself the office of the Word, my only-begotten Son. He appeared as an apostle in the world, and sowed my Word with great truth and light, lifting the darkness and bestowing light. He was a light that I placed in the world by means of Mary …” (The Dialogue of Divine Providence ch.158)
Certainly, it strikes us immediately, and in a particular way, that the Eternal Father is presenting St Dominic as a second Jesus: He took on the office of the Word, my onlybegotten Son. In the world of his own time, Dominic is a new Jesus, for the two fundamental reasons animating the life of Jesus himself, and which were Dominic’s only objectives, and are also the special grace of our charism: God’s honour and the salvation of souls, pursued through the light of Wisdom.
Like Jesus, Dominic (continues the Eternal Father) “sowed my Word with great truth and light”. Yes, Dominic was a preacher, an apostle who spread the Truth of the Word, that is, Jesus himself. The Father says that he “sows the Word”. To sow means to entrust to the earth a seed of life that will develop and produce flowers and fruit. Dominic sows the Word of God, and it will produce conversion and salvation. It is easy, therefore, to sum up our Dominican charism in these words of the Dialogue: the honour of God, the salvation of souls through the Light of the Word, that we are called to sow.
But to be able to sow it, the Word must grow in us, like a plant making fruit and seeds; it must be listened to, received, meditated on, prayed, and put into practice. You will tell me that we already know all this. Yes, it is true, we know all about our charism; its mottos: “Truth” … “Pass on to others what we have contemplated” remind us of its deepest meaning – but I believe that today more than ever it is essential to make a serious examination of conscience about how we live our Dominican charism. Do we really listen to the Word? Do we truly give sufficient time each day to meditating on it? Do we really let ourselves be challenged and converted by the Word that is offered to us each day in the Liturgy? Unfortunately, it seems to me that we often let ourselves be distracted by many other things; we often talk too much and about everything, often the contemplation of Jesus in his Word passes into second or third place in our lives.
My dears, like our Father Dominic, we Dominican sisters, through the grace of the charism, “assume the Office of the Word”. The Word, Jesus, is our model, always putting the honour of the Father and obedience to his desire for humanity’s salvation in first place, even to giving his life on the cross.
May the Holy Trinity truly gift us with the grace of wanting only the honour of God and the salvation of souls, “sowing the Word with truth and light”. Amen!
My dears, these are the wishes and prayers that I make my own on this feast of our Holy Father Dominic for each one of you and for the entire Family.
An affectionate and heartfelt embrace to you all, and may the Holy Trinity bless us!"
Sr. Elvira Bonacorsi