VATICAN CITY, FEB. 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The preacher of the 21st century must make Christ “seen” in his life, John Paul II said when he met with the superiors of the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans.
“The men of our time, perhaps not always in a conscious way, ask today´s believers not only to talk about Christ, but in a certain sense to have him seen,” the Holy Father said. He quoted St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican, for whom preaching was “to give to others what has been contemplated.”
“Only the one who has experienced God can speak about him in a convincing way,” the Pope said. “In the school of St. Dominic and of so many Dominican saints, you are called to be teachers of truth and holiness.”
The meeting with the 14 members of the General Council of the Friars Preachers was cordial. John Paul II recalled his own youth when he studied in Rome at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the “Angelicum.”
In response to the greeting of the master general, Argentine Father Carlos Azpiroz Costa, the Pope recalled the great Dominican theologians with whom he studied, including Fathers Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Paul Philippe and Mario Luigi Ciappi. The latter two later became cardinals.
Karol Wojtyla registered in the Angelicum in November 1946, immediately after being ordained a priest. There he went on to defend his doctoral thesis, on St. John of the Cross.
“What I was able to assimilate in the Angelicum´s classrooms has always been with me in my pastoral ministry,” the Pope added.
Today there are 6,300 Dominicans worldwide, including 4,700 priests, residing in 626 houses.