Preaching


The OP after our names stands for “Order of Preachers,” the formal name of the religious order founded in 1216 by St. Dominic. As Dominicans, we preach with our lives—in both word and deed—guided by a search for truth (veritas) and a commitment to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation (contemplate et aliis tradere). 

Our Dominican lives are shaped by the interconnecting movements of study, prayer, communal life, and ministry. 

Dominic so firmly believed in the importance of study to the preaching mission that he provided a rule of “dispensation” from other responsibilities in the event they interfered with study. We are women committed to study. Through prayer and contemplation we interiorize our learnings and enter into communion with the Source of all truth. Our communal life orients us to the common good of the whole Earth community. And in ministry, our preaching takes effect.

As women of the Gospel, our preaching is also expressed in word. Read reflections on the Word of God posted by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates on the Praedicare Blog below.

 


Preaching for Christmas Eve 2021

Christmas Eve
Preaching by Prioress Sister Patricia Siemen, OP

December 24, 2021

Again, a Merry Christmas to each of you! As we gather in the midst of Christmas lights glowing here in Chapel, and hopefully in your homes, we are mindful of the opening verse of tonight’s first reading from the Prophet Isaiah. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shone.”

This feels particularly fitting tonight, after a year of so many different kinds of darkness and shadows pervading our lives. Again, as Isaiah promises: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shone.” May this be so as we remember and celebrate the simple birth of Jesus, born to Mary and Joseph. This child, who revealed to all creation that it is truly incarnated with Divine Love and Light, called himself, “the Light of the World.”

Luke’s Gospel tonight also speaks of light: the great light that the shepherds saw while “keeping their flock by night.” Interestingly, Luke adds, “and the shepherds were terrified” by this light, wondering what it could mean, yet decided to follow the light of the Star leading to the stable where the babe lay. Perhaps there are times when we too are fearful when we experience Divine Light shining in our and through our lives. We wonder, what does this light mean for me? 

As we lean into the Light, we discover that we can trust it and live by its light providing guidance and inspiration. Sometimes we see this light shining in others. Other times it shines through us and others can see by our light. We become, like the child of Bethlehem, humble light-bearers in times of darkness and joy.

Christmas is a time of many lights, and has many specific cultural expressions across the world. For example, I remember being in the Philippines during Advent a few years ago the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, was filled with colorful lighted “lanterns”; there were neighborhood and regional competitions for the most beautiful lantern displays. 

Jesus identified himself as “the Light of the World.” How we hope that this “light of the world’ continues to shine in and around our fractured world. Tonight we are mindful of so many who are spending Christmas in the midst of grieving loved ones who died due to the global coronavirus pandemic. We remember that last year at this time we were just beginning to experience the deluge of COVID-19 cases that took place right here on our own campus. We continue grieving the ongoing consequences of a devastating, disturbing, disrupted democracy in our nation as we approach the first year anniversary of the insurrection in Washington, DC. 

So people may rightly ask, where is the Light of the World in the midst of such political and physical violence? Where is the Divine Light of the World in the midst of ongoing racial, gun and immigration violence? 

I submit my friends that the Light of the World shows up and shines in and through people like you; people who are unknown and unseen, yet care about the well-being of others. People who are humble, vulnerable, ordinary folks like our families and ourselves. Anyone who has the quiet courage to be a beacon of light as they care for others in need, like the frontline medical personnel. Truly, they are at the forefront of our shining lights. Plus the teachers who work so diligently to keep a love of learning alive among our children. They are our beacons of light and hope for so many of us. 

Indeed, our world is filled with ordinary light-bearers and at times like Christmas, we celebrate and honor their many gifts of light. This is what Christmas, the birth of Divinity as human child, has done for us: It makes all of us into lights for the world. We are each to give birth to the Divine Light that is uniquely ours to radiate.

As I conclude tonight, I want to mention two symbols that are glimmering light here in Chapel tonight. The first, behind me on my right, is the stunning panel of green and purple hues that our dear INAI artists, Sisters Barbara Chenicek and Rita Schlitz created for St. Patrick parish near Dallas, Texas many years ago. That church has since been dismantled and we now have some of the beautiful panels that Barb and Rita designed and sewed – along with the prayers and stitches of those parishioners. Tonight this beautiful panel shimmers its light for all of us to see and appreciate on this beautiful feast. 

The other symbol is behind me on my left: the simple, unadorned Christmas tree with its host of tiny white lights providing a warm mantle light. As I looked at it early this week, its flickering lights reminded me of the 213 sisters whose lights have gone out on Earth over these past 5 ½ years since our team took office; yet they remain shimmering as light-bearers, providing light, wisdom and guidance to those of us who remain behind. Their lights, along with the lights of all of our beloved Sisters who have gone before us, continue to provide light to all of us. Despite death, their inner, divine light did not go out. Rather, they are now like the stars in night sky – pouring forth their light upon all of us and cheering our weary world onward!    

We give thanks to these light-bearers for their star-studded lives, and for their faithful following of the babe of Bethlehem, the Light of the Christ. On this Christmas 2021, let us rejoice in the ongoing birth of Divine Light in our midst. May we each radiate a ray of light that shines uniquely through us, and rejoice as we say, O Come, Light of the World!


 

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LINKS

word.op.org - International Dominican Preaching Page

Catholic Women Preach - Featuring deep spirituality and insights from women

Preach With Your Life - Video series by Adrian Dominican Sisters

 


 

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