By editor - 05 August, 2016
Pope Francis met with participants in the Dominican General Chapter on Thursday as the friars brought to a conclusion their celebration marking 800 years since their foundation by St Dominic.
The audience with Pope Francis took place ahead of the Pontiff’s ahead of his afternoon visit to Assisi.
Referring to his two meeting with the followers of St Dominic and St Francis, the Pope joked that his day could be called “A Jesuit among Friars”.
He spoke to the Dominicans gathered about the need to incarnate the Gospel through preaching, witness, and charity.
He said it was God who inspired St Dominic to found the Order of Preachers, and put preaching at the heart of their mission, just as Jesus had taught his disciples.
“It is the Word of God which burns from within and incites us to go out and proclaim Jesus Christ to all peoples. The Founding Father said, ‘First contemplate, and then teach’. Evangelised by God to evangelise.”
“Without a deep personal union with Him, preaching may be very perfect, very rational, even admirable, but it will never touch the heart, which is what must change.”
The Word of God also requires witness, the Pope said.
“Teachers faithful to the truth and worthy witnesses of the Gospel. The witness incarnates what is taught, makes it tangible, makes it call, and leaves no one indifferent. [The witness] adds to the truth the joy of the Gospel, aware of being loved by God and the object of His infinite mercy.”
Lastly, charity is necessary for the preacher and witness.
Referring to the early life of St Dominic, the Pope said it was the living, suffering body of Christ which was inscribed in his entire existence.
“It is the body of Christ, alive and suffering, which cries out to the preacher and does not leave him tranquil. The cry of the poor and discarded awakens and makes us understand the compassion which Jesus had for the people. […] It is in the encounter with the living body of Christ that we are evangelisers, that we recover the passion to be preachers and witnesses of His love, and that we free ourselves from the dangerous temptation, extremely actual today, of Gnosticism.”
Preaching, witness, and charity.