On October 5th, 2019, we had the opportunity to receive in our Priory of Saint Dominic Father Samuel Agcaracar SVD, who was in Macau as a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Religious Studies of the University of Saint Joseph. Father Samuel came to our house to share the table and his knowledge with our community. On Saturdays, the Students at Saint Dominic Priory use to gather in the hall to continue learning different topics in order to complement our philosophical and theological formation and to nourish our lives as Dominican Friars.
This Saturday was the moment to learn about Missiology, one topic that will never exhausted because, as we have learnt, our Province is not a Province with missions, is indeed a Missionary Province, therefore we must keep updating our knowledge and experience on what is the main feature of our Province.
Father Samuel developed his lecture on two documents really important of the Church: “Maximun Illud” (Pope Benedict XV) and “Evangelii Gaudium” (Pope Francis I). After talking about highlighted aspects of both documents he finished his speech pointing out there elements that every single person that considers him or herself a missionary ought to take on account: (1) to be a lover of God, (2) to be a lover of people and (3) to be a lover of cultures.
The first element is the most important, the other two cannot exist without the first, but at the same time we show our love for God through our actions, namely, loving people and the diverse cultures throughout the world. How can we go out to preach the Word of God if we do not love the people to whom we are addressing? How can we address the people if first of all we do not know their culture and if we do not give the value that they deserve?
Father Samuel’s lecture was a wide-open invitation to embrace the world and to overflow it with the Word of God. This invitation, in my opinion, is extremely necessary in our continuous discernment within the Dominican life in the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary. To be a lover of God! Is an exclamation and it ought to be always our exclamation; but to love people and cultures, I dare to put it in question marks: each time that we think on our missionary vocation it is important to ask ourselves “do I love the people?” and “do I love the cultures?” When the answer to these questions be an unquestionable “yes” we can say “I am a missionary”. If the answer is in doubt, let us go back to the Source of all our actions, let us go back to Jesus – who sent us, and is sending us every day, to proclaim His message – and ask for strength and humility to embrace the world with all that it contains.
Thank you Father Samuel. You will be always welcome in our house.
Fray Reynaldo Chang, OP.