Saint Dominic’s European Lay Fraternities are celebrating the 800-year Jubilee of the Order with a chain of Preachers of Hope. From Malta two contributions: a call on Lay Dominican Councils and a reflection on Hope.
Maltese call on Lay Dominican Councils
In an email James Souness, the vice-president of the Lay Dominican Council from Malta, shares his thoughts. What is important when we speak about preaching hope? It is preaching about what is good or bad as our father St. Dominic used to do, but there is also an important task for the Lay Dominican Councils, James reflects in an email:
“It is very important to preach about what is good or bad as our father St. Dominic used to do, but the most important way is to help not only spiritually but also materially those in need. As I once said, the missionaries used to provide the natives, especially the poor with material needs, such as food, medicines, clothes etc. as St. Dominic used to do when at one time he even offered to sell himself so that those in need could have a better life.
The saying goes that the word is good, but the example is much stronger when it comes to make people belief, and that is what we try to do in Malta, particularly in Vittoriosa where my fraternity lives. As Lay Dominican Council, we organize spiritual retreats during lent and advent, a monthly meeting where we show a power-point and then discuss the issue, take part in religious events in other places such as processions of our Lady of the Rosary, Corpus Christi, the last Tuesdays of St. Dominic and during the feast of our patron St. Catherine of Siena. But apart from these we also organize for them get-togethers, and also cultural visits to important historical places. By this we belief that we are doing what St. Dominic used to like most, that of being amongst the people, so that we can truly say that we are doing our best to be functional, accountable and serving the Lay Dominicans as best as we could possibly do.
It’s important that Lay Dominican Councils work in a way that keeps the interest of the Lay Dominicans alive, up to the point that they attend in quite a good number, and are always asking us when the next activity is going to be held. So like every Lay Dominican also the Councils should not only preach about the way that our father St. Domenic used to do, but they must do it by giving good examples, both spiritually and materially. I think that by doing this we are taking the example given to us by our Father St. Dominic, that of always being among the people, so that we may know very closely what their needs actually are.”
We are continuously tempted to lose hope. When we look a bit around us, we see a lot of things that tend to discourage us. We feel helpless when faced with injustices, wars, violence, exploitations and all types of illness. In the past society taught us to put our hope in reason, in science, in politicians and so on and so forth.
However, they were very disappointing. With all the scientific progress, which is good in itself, injustices, violence and poverty continue to rise. With all the progress in medicine, terminal illnesses, like cancer, are spreading all over the globe.
Today’s culture is brainwashing us to hope blindly in money. It tries to convince us that if we are rich we will not suffer injustices, we will never be exploited, we can get the best health services in the world. Nevertheless, rich people die too. Money cannot save them. Even if a person is rich, there will always be some other person who is richer. Those who are the richest will always take advantage of the less rich.
There exists only one hope for mankind: Jesus Christ. Outside of Jesus there is only illusionary hope, which eventually will disappoint us. Jesus will never disappoint us. He suffered a terrible passion and gave his life for us on the cross to save us from all evil and to show us by deeds, not only by words, what he is ready to do for us. Neither science nor politicians nor money gave their lives and suffered like Jesus Christ to redeem us from every kind of evil.
Therefore, as Christians we have to hope only in Jesus Christ, and as Dominicans we have to be preachers of Christ and consequently, preachers of hope. When the hope in Jesus Christ is diffused all over the world and is embraced by all the people of all nations, injustices, exploitations, violence and wars will be over. Our communion with Jesus, who conquered death for us, will make it possible for us to partake in his divine life so that death cannot destroy our lives.
Lay Dominican from Malta
The Chain: Each Province/Vicariate is invited to share their stories and/or pictures with a next Province/Vicariate, if possible with a meeting. That Province/Vicariate invites the next Province/Vicariate, etc. For the Chain there is a route with a time table, which can be used. If every Province/Vicariate also sends their stories and pictures to the ECLDF website, we will create, in this way, a real chain of preachers of hope throughout Europe until the next Assembly October 2017 in Fatima.
Here you will find the announcement of the Chain and also an overview of all the contributions.