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"Go to Oxford"

Saturday, May 24, 2014

On this day when we commemorate the Translation of Our Holy Father St Dominic, we keep in our prayers the whole Dominican family. Let us pray especially for those being ordained to the priesthood, including five Polish Dominican brothers in Cracow.

The video above was made after the priestly ordination of Polish Dominican brothers last year. It is a moving testimony to the profound character of the holy priesthood, following in the steps of Christ in the way that St John and St Paul show us; and it shows a Christian community joyfully celebrating these men as they begin their new life of service.

In the homily, the bishop even refers to Oxford! He is making an important point about Dominican and priestly obedience, the readiness to go wherever we are sent. Gilbert de Fresnay OP and his twelve companions were sent to England by St Dominic himself presiding over the general chapter in Bologna in 1221. Gilbert and company were told, "Go to Oxford." And today, English Dominican friars at their Simple Profession are told to go to Oxford to take up their studies for the priesthood. But 'Oxford' could stand for any assignment. We need willing brothers and sisters who follow in Christ's footsteps wherever the needs of evangelisation may take them.

Let us give the final words to the bishop (from 4'24" in the video):

You worry where you will be assigned to, hmm? 

 […] Go where you want to, there already waits for you God’s word and the Sacraments. This is a more important reality than individual aspirations. 

Where would you want to go to, right? Go to Oxford. 

This is a reality that is more important than us, that cannot be fully described. You cannot encompass it or grasp it. That is why John is given the task of testimony, because what you can’t tell with words, you can show with your life. 

 [...] A book is a book and life is life. Faith is passed by life, when we take this book in our hands, we need the explanation, but also the experience. Explanation AND experience. There is no other way to convey the message. Explanation and experience.


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