A River of Many Waters: Brotherhood of Preachers

We had come, like streams of a river, from the same source in our native land, had separated from each other in pursuit of learning, and were now united again as if by plan, for God so arranged it. (From a funeral oration by Saint Gregory Nazianzus on St. Basil the Great)

Such is the image St. Gregory used to describe how God united him with St. Basil in a spiritual friendship. And such is the image that comes to mind when I consider how God knitted me with the men whom I now call my brothers. All of us, reborn in the same fountain of baptism and previously separated in our own pursuits like so many streams of water that descend from the mountaintop by God’s prompting, are now merged into a river called the Order of Preachers.

None of us has chosen the others. Yet in His Wisdom God wills each of us to be joined together by His love to preach the Word of God for the salvation of souls. And our life in communion is a sharing in His blessed communion, the very life of the Trinity, and a reflection of the glorious communion of the blessed in Heaven, who have entered into this life in fellowship with the Divine Persons.

Yet, is this not the destiny to which each of us is called, that is, to love God and to abide with Him in time and eternity?

Yes, it is true that our perfection consists in the perfection of love, which unites us with God. And it is not essential that we attain this perfection through religious observance. However, God has willed that His love be expressed in various ways, and He has ordained certain instruments of perfection through which this supernatural love can be better exercised. In the Order of Preachers, this love is principally expressed in the proclamation of the Word of God. Among the instruments God employs in this proclamation are the vows we solemnly profess and the rule we follow. All these are accomplished in and through the brotherhood into which we have been “born.” Together, we preach what we live and live what we preach.

The brothers are my teachers, exemplars, and fellow soldiers who instruct me in truths, exemplify every virtue, and train me for battle. All of us have been drawn to Christ in love for this one mission, to know Him and to make Him known, and for a singular destiny, to live and die in Jesus Christ. But even death cannot separate us. This is why we still call Dominic our father, St. Thomas our brother, and St. Catherine our sister. The voice of those who have gone before us still resounds.

We are so many streams that have been merged into a mighty river whose waters must reflect the glorious splendor of our fountainhead. And this river speaks with one voice yet with “the sound of many waters.” (Rev 1:15)

Br. Xavier Marie Wu, O.P. | Meet the Brothers in Formation HERE