Sr Tamsin renews her commitment
He empowers all his disciples to share his self-giving, and to live, now, by the values of the Coming Kingdom; he calls some of us to adopt forms of life that speak, publicly and explicitly, of God’s Reign. Eight centuries ago, St. Dominic launched a “family” of such forms of life, crafting an Order of Preachers.
One of our mottos is “to hand on the fruits of contemplation.” We sing words of Scripture as communities, letting them penetrate our minds; the Eucharist we celebrate catches us up into Christ’s Sacrifice and renews in us the Gift it won: the Holy Spirit, the Divine Love in Person. Each Priory of Sisters or Brothers is called to be a Holy Preaching; from it and its Liturgy we go out in ones and twos to preach the Good News, nourished by the tradition and zeal for truth represented by our great Doctors Catherine, Albert and Thomas.
Like Abraham, some Dominicans have left their country and family: some Sisters of the Congregation of St Catherine of Siena have worked in Norway, the Ukraine, and, I think, Pakistan; in England, the Sisters have given hospitality to Sisters and priests from abroad. Many of us work nearer home, in the missionary territory that is England.
Of course, as Tamsin shows, it’s now possible to reach the whole world through an online presence, to preach the Faith and defend the Natural Law. Bur much of our work, much of Tamsin’s work, is personal, in imitation of Christ forming his disciples personally: catechetics, spiritual direction, youth formation, study days… This is a labour of trust and hope as well as love: parents can follow their children’s paths closely; the preacher and teacher can’t often see – in this life – all the fruit her work bears.
Some things religious do aren’t explicitly theological, like Tamsin’s teaching Latin – but it’s done as a religious, and helps people savour our cultural and theological tradition. It shows how Sisters can reach places the Friars can’t: Tamsin has done something with which I have never been entrusted: she has taught Jesuits!
We invoke for Tamsin God’s covenant loyalty our Psalm sang of, that God who began the good work in her may bring it to completion. We invoke God’s loyalty for her Congregation of St Catherine. On two occasions in the past, God has kept the English Friars’ Province alive through a mere handful of men. But the whole Dominican Family has something precious to offer tomorrow’s world; so we can be confident Our Lady, St Catherine and St Dominic pray for us all – Sisters and Friars – to continue praising, blessing and preaching, now and for eternity.
In this life, by prayer and preaching, we bring God’s blessing to the world, that others may join in praise and blessing. When we meet merrily in heaven, and are blessed with a clear vision of the Triune God, we shall praise and bless God with and for those who have shared our journey, with and for those we have helped or who have helped us – and will reflect God’s Truth and Love, Goodness and Beauty, to each other even more clearly and joyfully. Amen.