“You are my companion. We will work together, supporting one another toward the same end, and no one will prevail against us.” — St. Dominic to St. Francis
In 1216 Dominic met Francis of Assisi in Rome. Having seen Francis in a vision the night before, Dominic recognized him and rushed to greet him. A close friendship sprang up between the two, and to this day Dominicans and Franciscans exchange visits on each other’s founders’ feast days as a sign of unity towards a common goal of the salvation of souls. These two pillars supported the Church from falling into ruin and helped repair what was damaged through authentic reform.
Pope Francis’s view on rebuilding the Church was deeply influenced by the Dominican theologian, Yves Congar, who looked back over Church history to discern why some reforms rebuilt the unity of the Church while other movements separated themselves from its foundation. According to Congar, reform begins with a return to the principles of Catholicism versus a revolution. Both Dominic and Francis, for example, did not remodel the Church according to their tastes but returned to an apostolic way of life devoted to preaching, poverty, and prayer.
Not even one person was ordained for the Jesuits in Argentina the year after Bergoglio’s own ordination. Later, as provincial, and after reading Congar’s book on reform, he implemented a program in which Jesuit students were told their first priority was to evangelize-to be immersed in people’s lives and expand from there. But the spiritual came first. As Francis writes in Evangelii Gaudium,“the worst discrimination which the poor suffer is lack of spiritual care.” He told the Jesuits to pray the Rosary as well as other popular devotions, and vocations began to overflow!
Our Dominican way of life is attracting many vocations today. Thanks to your donation and others like it, we will be able to continue with an authentic reform that will rebuild and support our Church for the next 800 years!
Father Gabriel Gillen, O.P.