Advent opens once again the blessed time of expectation for the Incarnation. It is a blessed time because it tells us about the mystery of the coming of our God in our humanity, One for the salvation of all. This lies at the very heart of the mission of the Order. Young and old, people from North or South, brothers or sisters, laity or clergy, all of us were one day so touched by this astounding news that we dedicated our lives to make it known to the world: God comes in our world. Through this dialogue with the world and its cultures, he opens the time for the new creation. This waiting for the Incarnation forms the background of our apostolic fraternity and, at the same time, it is its most solid support.
The news of the coming of God, which was one day heard in the darkness, had the power to awaken the shepherds and to make the multitude of simple people go in haste to the inn. It attracted the learned so much that they set out on unfamiliar routes. It worried the mighty baffled by the resistance that gentleness and love can oppose to the vain pretentions of power. God came among men and women; and all of a sudden those who thought that they were forgotten by everybody found that they were invited to occupy the first place in the fulfilment of the promise. Those who felt tired of life stood up again, and those who felt crushed by guilt and sin grasped the hand that helped them rise again.
God comes personally to dialogue with his people, and the “delicate silence of a gentle breeze” covers the world and opens the time of hope for a new creation. Everybody can dare to be born again; the world can be renewed. It is possible to build a future of justice and peace starting today, as long as one is inhabited by the hope that, through human hands, God himself is working to shape a new creation. It is this extraordinary news of God’s dialogue with his people, with each and every one of us, that led us to start moving, and it is through it and for it that we wish to live! Is it not this news that, even today, should keep us awake?
Our order is the servant of the coming of God and of the dialogue this coming inaugurated. This is what made Dominic choose the way of apostolic preaching. This is what encouraged Pedro de Cordoba and his friars when, through the sermon delivered by Montesinos, they preached the need for an alliance for a common dignity. It is in this coming that we want to discern the signs of God through dialogue with traditional and modern cultures, and with technology and science. It is also because of this coming that we wish to be vigilant by participating in the new worlds of the arts and of digital communication. Everywhere, we join our contemporaries in order to listen to them, and with them listen to the footsteps of God who is coming, to discern with them the signs of hope for a new world that is being born.
The Order is also the servant of this dialogue of God with humanity when, through fraternal life, He invites the brothers to be witnesses for each other of God’s dialogue with each one of us, in spite of our weaknesses, notwithstanding the shortcomings of our lives, or maybe even starting from them. Preaching in our Order is done in community, of course, in that together we try to keep ourselves awake in order to discern in the world and in human cultures the signs of the coming of God, opening up this dialogue through which He makes all things new. But it is also a community preaching, “a holy preaching”, because the friars, in the adventure of fraternal living, dare to be witnesses for each other of this coming of God in each one of us, of the promise of a new birth. We live in expectation for the coming of the Lord through which we want to bear witness by welcoming Him ourselves and by offering Him to the world as the promise of a new birth.
May this time of Advent and the celebration of Christmas be for you all a time of joy that gives us such hope!
Bro Bruno Cadoré op
Master of the Order