instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Join the Dominicans!

Go to Argentina!

The International Congress of Lay Dominican Fraternities is going on this week just outside Buenos Aires. The self-understanding of the Lay Dominican Fraternities is undergoing rapid development, and this Congress is, if not altogether unprecedented, certainly the largest devoted specifically to the Fraternities on a world-wide scale.

There are six main issues being considered at the Congress: preaching and prayer; study and formation; government; organization and structure; finance and economy; and the presence of Lay Dominicans in the OP Family and in the Church. I'd be surprised to learn there were many of us who gave a hoot about finance or government, but these are the sorts of things that need to be considered if we want to do something tomorrow that we weren't doing yesterday.

At some point, the keynote address of the Master of the Order, fr. Carlos Azpiroz Costa, O.P., will be posted. The title of his address, which is also the theme of the Congress, is "Companions in Preaching." I have not seen the text, but the title alone is a challenge. People usually choose their own companions, and what the Order has been saying for some time is that a Dominican's companions are his fellow Dominicans: friars, nuns, sisters, laity.

Moreover, they are companions for something. And the something isn't prayer, it's not study, it's not community. It's preaching. Since we don't even really have a solid explanation of what "preaching according to your state in life" means for Lay Dominicans that it doesn't also mean for the laity in general, acquiring companions in preaching isn't often the goal that first attracts someone to the Fraternities.

But preaching and the salvation of souls is the purpose of the Order we join, which makes it our purpose, too.

And if you think that might be your purpose, you may want to drop us a line.