From Venezuela, I want to send a fraternal greeting to all the brothers of the Province.
I am having a fraternal visit with our brothers in Venezuela and I am impressed by the work that our brothers here have done for decades. They have left a mark that can never be erased. What they have done will always be there. I am also impressed by the work that our brothers are doing now, by their enthusiasm and desire to do things well.
After two months in office and coinciding with the feast of the Patroness of our Province I would like to share with all the brothers of the Province a short reflection.
We all have a mission and we are all important. We are a community in which all brothers and sisters are living stones. But I get the impression that sometimes we forget this, that we are part of a community. I see that we often get obsessed with thinking about ourselves, doing what each one likes, and forgetting about the community and its future. We can then be an obstacle to the development of the Order. If each one only thinks about his own good, leaving aside the common good, we will be putting a stop to the mission that the Order has entrusted to it in the Church. With intransigence, physical and mental immobility we will scuttle the hard work that has been done so far and we will not allow the Order to move ahead. We will close the door to a better future.
I would like to invite everyone, young and old, to join forces; but above all to reflect on whether each one is an obstacle, a brake on the development of the Order, or if, on the contrary, with his attitude, he is an incentive for the construction of the Order.
Trying to make a project for the future I have seen that there are many young and old brothers who want to stay only in the place where they want, in the place where they think they are happy, or in the place where they think they can help. Brothers who just want everything to remain the same because they are very comfortable where they are. Brothers who forget and put aside their status as Dominican religious and become something else. Is it possible to make a common project with such an attitude? In order to make a common project, to restructure our presences and ministries, all these things are obstacles.
I invite all the brothers to have a high level of vision. Not to be afraid of the future, to make ourselves available to the common project, to know how to be each one in his place and put the best of each one in this common project. It must be everyone’s project for a future that we already have on top, that we must face now. To let more time pass and not make decisions will always be to postpone decisions that will cause more suffering and disinterest. I wonder what are we afraid of? St. Dominic lived himself into an uncertain future with courage and faith. He always exhorted the brothers to live a fraternal life in the community as a sign of communion and as the first place of preaching. He always invited the brothers to found convents as the basis for that fraternity.
On this day of Our Lady of the Rosary, our intercessor and our patroness, the mother who always encourages us not to be afraid of the challenges we have, today she invites us, as a good mother, to make a common project, without individualism, respecting each one’s values, knowing how to listen to each other and knowing how to be each one in his place. She Invites us to rethink what we do, how we do it, and where we do it. All to make a common project for the future and not stagnant in time.
I ask that this letter be read on the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary in all the communities of the Province in the celebration of the Vespers, that the superiors exhort the brothers to think more about the common good than about their own and propose a day in the month of October to make a reflection in the community on the common project.
Happy Feastday. May the Lord pour out his grace on us, and may the Virgin of the Rosary protect us and encourage us to live our Dominican life to the fullest.
Fr. Ruben OP.