Jesus said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
“The Order of Preachers has been sent by the Church to preach the Gospel to all people, believers and unbelievers, learned and un-learned” ( Constitution, p. 31, #2).
I have said many times that we have so many wonderful preachers. What a blessing! I was referring to those who go to the microphone and who become vulnerable in our presence by sharing their spirituality, their relationship with God. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus calls all disciples to be preachers. That includes each of us, you and me, as part of the Sinsinawa Dominican Family in the United States, Bolivia, Trinidad and Tobago.
“At the heart of everything is relationship” (Constitution, p. 39, #20). We say that often. Our relationships are extensive. They are Associates, partner ministers, recipients of ministry, coworkers, friends, one another, those on the edge, and so many more. Are we really preaching in every relationship? Maybe we haven’t thought of it as preaching, but we each share our spirituality and become vulnerable in some way in each relationship.
Gerard Timoner describes preaching—“It is not what we do. It is who we are.” We are preachers. That is our identity. Imagine, then, the many ways we preach.
We are ministers of mercy. We preach when we are hostesses of hospitality. We feed, give drink, shelter, and visit. We listen, share conversation, counsel, laugh, cry, and relate as we work jigsaw puzzles. We preach with a smile, a word of encouragement, a gentle touch on the shoulder, and a nod of recognition. We are the Works of Mercy.
We are educated and educators. We preach when we contemplate and study and share our learnings. We preach when we give retreats, chat, and ask questions. We preach in our art, our music, our writings, at the sewing machines, and in the kitchen. We preach in our dance, our movements, our body language, and in our frailty.
We are caregivers of the sorrowful, the doubtful, and the sick. We preach when we share another’s pain or fear or when we just sit in silence with another. We preach when we vigil with the dying and when we bury the dead. We even preach at our own wakes in the beautiful obituaries and stories of our lives.
We are ministers to each other as we reach our twilight years. We preach when we are patient, forgiving, and understanding. We preach when we listen. We preach when we know our limitations and ask for help. We preach when we lend a helping hand to another. We preach when we do what we can do. We preach when we serve on committees and in leadership. We preach as sacristans, volunteers, assistants, spiritual directors, counselors, and in so many other ways.
We are heart, overflowing with mercy and bursting with love. We are itinerant. We preach when we challenge one another to meet the new needs that call us. We preach when we persist in seeking justice, truth, mercy, compassion, peace, and joy. We preach when we care for our Earth. We preach when we reach out beyond our comfort zones. We preach when we are hopeful and extend hope to another.
We are vowed religious living in a community of prayer. We are mendicants committed to the common good. We are preachers when we pray for the needs and intentions of others, our Congregation, the Church, our country, and the world. We are preachers when we give praise and thanksgiving. We are preachers when we bring God’s Presence to each other and to all our relationships.
Maybe we haven’t thought of preaching this way, but we are “proclaiming the Good News of the Father’s love” ( Constitution p. 31, #2).We are the Sinsinawa Dominican heart and a part of something bigger.
We are preachers.