The seeking and preaching truth is not over, it's not ended. It is a gift that is so very much needed as we start on the next 800 years.
On Jan. 17, 2017 Sister Barbara Reid, OP received the 2017 Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence & Lecture at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. This institution was founded in the Dominican tradition and espouses Dominican values today, much like Aquinas College in Michigan, founded by the Grand Rapids Dominicans.
This audience was the first to hear Sr. Barbara’s planned lecture to close the 800th Jubilee of the Order in Rome, Italy a few days later. Following are excerpts and highlights from Sr. Barbara’s lecture. A link to the lecture in its entirety, on demand, is available at the end of this post.
Preaching and Seeking Truth
“It [the Jubilee year] has been a rich time to reflect on how the Dominican charism is needed in today’s church and world… and how Dominican colleges and universities carry forth the tradition in the next 800 years,” said Sr. Barbara.
“In this country during the recent presidential election, we have experienced… a shocking disregard for truth… In such a state as we are in these days, with the proliferation of made-up facts and fake news, how might we begin to search for the truth?” asked Sr. Barbara.
Highlighting the need for relationship-building to be at the core of all Dominican educational endeavors, Sister Barbara discusses the quest for truth: Seeking truth about God; seeking truth about ourselves; and seeking truth about others and others’ truth.
“In his Suma, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote of God’s mercy as `the primordial root and the prior element to which everything else must be traced back.’
“Mercy is not just one of God’s attributes. It is the very core of who God is.” says Sr. Barbara quoting Walter Kasper in his book Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.
She continues… “In Dominican tradition, two of the important ways that we foster the ability to let ourselves be mercied is through contemplation and study. Contemplative prayer is both a gift and a practice that we can cultivate ourselves and teach others how to do. It allows us to hone our ability to listen. To hear with a heart of holy mystery what God is revealing in our day.”
“In contemplative silence, we not only have a respite from our noisy world, it’s relentless emails, phone calls, and tweets, but there we are able to let ourselves be mercied, and to hear with the heart of holy mystery, the cries of those who are most vulnerable and let ourselves be prompted by the Holy Spirit to discern how we are to pay forward the mercy we have received.”
“Hand in hand with contemplation is study. For Dominicans, there is a very fine line between prayer and study… For Dominicans, study is not solely an intellectual endeavor. Jordan of Saxony, Dominic’s first successor of the Order, said, “Dominic understood all things through the humility of his heart.” What he was saying is that understanding is not an affair of the head alone but of head and heart together. It involves one’s whole being.”
“In Dominican tradition, it is not only the scriptures that lead us to Truth about God. Our Dominican ancestors insisted that the whole of Creation reveals divinity. St. Thomas Aquinas warned that “A mistake in our understanding of creation would necessarily cause a mistake in our understanding of God.”
Hear and view Sr. Barbara Reid’s lecture in its entirety on demand. The Party’s Over and The Quest for Truth Continues View online.