In conformity with the spirit of St. Dominic, our lay preaching must be founded on compassion, a deep compassion with those who suffer, particularly as a result of the selfishness and injustices of others. Compassion alone can bring us goodness and the capacity to read the signs of the times. Compassion is the only way, in our lay preaching, to acquire humility for we must learn to listen and to speak, to receive and to give, to be vulnerable and have influence, to be evangelized and to evangelize.
This kind of compassion and humility can only come from a deep union with God in Jesus Christ. We are truly one with God when we imitate the compassion of Christ and his humble service.” (Source Unknown)
It is in the awareness of our desire for compassion that we find the need to orient our lives towards works of peace and justice.
At Oakland (1989), the brothers emphasized the link between Justice and Peace and studies in the Order:
“Our study proceeds from our life together in the Order, but it also is meant to manifest the unity of all humankind in Christ. Consequently, there is an essential link between successful study and the search for a world characterized by justice and peace, a world where men and women enjoy the fullness of the human condition in their dignity as children of God. When we speak the truth we are doing an act of justice.”
In the process of establishing ourselves in the world as emissaries of justice and peace, we, as lay preachers, align ourselves with the guidelines set forth by the brothers in organizing our work:
In Mexico City (1992), Justice and Peace was clearly inscribed within the program of initial formation for all Dominican life:
- Justice and Peace is one of the fundamental elements of the formation of every preacher.
- Every Dominican should recognize the face of God in the poor and the suffering, and feel the same compassion learned by our father Saint Dominic as he followed in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. In this way theological reflections will be nurtured by mercy and will avoid making the conventual life a place of refuge from the challenges and demands of reality.
- Like every other Dominican, the [laity] in formation must be made aware and allow themselves to be challenged by the social conflicts that exist, the misery and marginalization that is the lot of so many men and women today and the unjust structures of society imposed on so many of our brothers and sisters. In this way, they will become authentic preachers and true artisans of justice and peace. Those responsible for formation must provide those in formation with adequate human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral training so they can meet the needs and challenges of our times.
- Dominican theological reflection finds its nourishment in the Word of God lived through our commitment to the poor. Our option in favor of the poor is not limited to moral behavior. We must see the poor as the image of God revealing itself to us, for this is one of the fundamental elements of our faith.
- The [laity] in formation must remain in personal contact with the realities of poverty, suffering, and injustice. We also ask that they be present in the working class neighborhoods and among the marginalized, and that they collaborate with those working there.
- We ask our lay brothers and sisters, both the formators and those in formation, that they be especially attentive to the situation of the marginalized and to the question around the discrimination of women in the church and in society. We should be careful not to lose sight of the realities lived by the various ethnic, cultural, religious, and immigrant groups.
Catholic Social Teaching provides the foundation of our work, our holy preaching, in the areas of peace, justice, and care of creation.
Justice Exchange is a communication program developed by the Southern Dominican Laity. It’s purpose is to educate and inform recipients on justice, peace, and care of creation issues relevant to life in today’s world.
Dominican Justice Peace and Care of Creation Issues are the areas in which concentrated efforts are directed through our holy preaching by the five North American Dominican Provinces.
Provincial Justice and Peace Issues are those that directly affect the Southern Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres, USA.