Benedict XVI reflects on life of St. Dominic, model for new evangelization

.- During his Wednesday General Audience, the Holy Father spoke of St. Dominic, a saint described as the model for new evangelization.  In his life, Dominic preached the Gospels to those who did not know Christ and also worked to re-evangelize Christian communities.

The founder of the eventual Order of Preachers, "spoke always with God and of God.  In the life of the saints, the love for the Lord and for neighbor, the search for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls always go together," highlighted the Pope.

Young Dominic was known in Spain for his love for the poor and works of charity.  When Dominic was ordained, he treated his priestly position as one of "service to render with dedication and humility," taught the Pope.

In his ministry, he was taken by Bishop Diego of Osma to Northern Europe to carry out diplomatic missions in which time he became aware of "two enormous challenges" for the Church.  The first was that many people still did not know Christ.  Dominic also noticed that there was an existence of a  "religious laceration" that was having a negative effect on Christian life, particularly in southern France.

From that point on, continued Benedict XVI, he took on the apostolic goals of "missionary action towards those who did not know the light of the Gospel and the work of re-evangelization of the Christian communities."

"To this mission of preaching the Good News he dedicated the rest of his life."

The Pope reflected on this choice, pointing out that "this great saint reminds us that in the heart of the Church there should always burn a missionary fire, which drives (us) incessantly to take the first announcement of the Gospel and, where necessary, to a new evangelization..."

The Holy Father illustrated that Dominic of Guzman and his followers evangelized through the "concrete testimony" of their preaching whilst promoting community life in poverty and the importance of theological scholarship.  They were able to reach the community by being part of the community.

Pope Benedict concluded by making an exhortation to pastors and lay "to cultivate this 'cultural dimension' of the faith, so that the beauty of Christian truth can be better understood and the faith can be truly nourished, reinforced and also defended."

He extended a similar appeal to seminarians and priests in observation of the Year for Priests, to "esteem the spiritual value of study," saying that "the quality of the priestly ministry depends also on the generosity with which we apply ourselves to the study of evealed truths."

St. Dominic, he said, "reminds us that theology has a spiritual and pastoral dimension, which enriches the character and life."  Everyone, he summed up, can "find a profound 'interior joy' in contemplating the beauty of the truth that comes from God, truths always current and always alive."

Finally, reflecting on the legacy left by Dominic, the Holy Father recognized his care in providing for a number of women's religious communities.  He said of these religious, "only in Paradise will we comprehend how much the prayer of the cloistered accompanies effectively apostolic action!" The Pope then expressed his "thankful and affectionate thought" to them.

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