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Renewal of simple Religious Profession in Macau

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On September 8, We celebrated the renewal of religious vows of fr. Abraham Nin Ki Gai, OP; fr. Stephen Saw Lej Kapaw Htoo, OP; fr. Marko Thoe Reh, OP; Francis Bu Ling, OP; fr. John Bosco, OP; fr. Richard Htoo, OP; Gabriel R. Kyaw Ko Ko, OP; and fr. Justin Saw Kaung Hbrown Myint, OP. The celebration was presided by Br. Bonifacio Solís García, OP, Prior Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary, in the Chapel of the Convent of Santo Domingo de Macao.

We share with you the homily in this celebration:

The renewal or religious profession is an opportunity to re-evaluate our religious commitment. While it is true that the first religious profession had a canonical time of validity, the inner attitude of each candidate should go beyond the canonical tenure of the years of profession and wish that such consecration and commitment goes beyond the canonical time. 

However, this ecclesial ceremony of your renewal is a reenactment of that first commitment in which you freely pronounced your full determination to be obedientto death in the presence of God and the Church. It was and it is, through the ministry of the Church, that you were and you will be consecrated to be totally and exclusively his. 

As members of the mystical Body of Christ and as members of the Order, your profession takes place in the midst of the community to which you belong and in which you wish to be and together with the brothers devote your selves to the service of preaching. Be, therefore, totally involved in all the aspects of community life and remember that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. Unfortunately, it is more and more difficult to serve when we do not seek the good of others but our own good, because in this case our life is not characterized by love of benevolence but by love of friendship or, even worst, by a love centered on ourselves. Our religious profession does not exclude an individual celebration but such celebration does not have meaning without the ecclesial dimension, both celebrations should not be in contradiction. You know your history, your culture, your personality, let diversity be the principle of unity and a positive tool to work for the cause of the Kingdom. We have been called to be sent.

The three pillars of religious life continue to be personal and community challenges:

Prayer. No matter how good and perfect your personal involvement in personal and community prayer would be, you should not be satisfied and have a constant desire to increase in the mystical union with God from whom true love derives, increases and intensifies. Be, therefore, fervent in prayer wishing a deeper and more perfect union with the one who is the source of life, love and sanctification. He who created us without our consent will not save us if we do not generously answer in love the infinite love he has for us. Be, therefore, fervent in personal and community prayer, whether you feel or not rewarded.Emotions should not be equated with the quality of your prayer. On the other hand, our prayer must be characterized by its ecclesial dimension rather than by its individual purpose. 

Study. A Dominican should study constantly and intensively. You have time to do so and your experience and history as to how faithfully you have devoted yourselves to the task of studying during the past few years. Your renewal should become a golden opportunity to rethink and reconsider further if you have been faithful and generous with this important aspect of our Dominican life. Thestudy of theology is inseparable from the celebration and sharing in community of our reflection on the Truth. Resolve, therefore, to do better, no matter how convinced you might be that you have done well. It is always possible to do better. The development of the theological and spiritual reflection on the contemplation of the Truth, the object of our study, focuses on the Trinitarian, Christological, ecclesiological and eschatological character of the revealed Word.

Preaching. As Dominicans and as members of the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary we assume the great responsibility of being witnesses and preachers of the Gospel. While it is true that we cannot do everything that has to be done, nevertheless, we have taken upon ourselves the great responsibility of being instruments in the hands of the Lord so that the message of salvation may reach to all those he loves, and from his love none is excluded. Because there is a modern tendency to rediscover the essential and authentic traces of the Gospel and of the specific charism, we wish to revive the foundational sprit and wish to be faithful to the original charism of the province that must become an energizing and revitalizing opportunity for all. Even today we must offer the missionary nature of our charism (cf. ACP2017. 69-71). We have been challenged by the Order to reevaluate and analyze the uniqueness of our charism. We cannot be what our forefathers were when the Province was established, but their vision of preaching and mission remains valid today since most of the world´s population does not accept the Gospel.

We must be what our forefathers were since the essential end has not changed, however, to preach the Gospel requires that we consider the historical times, cultures and circumstances in which we have to preach the Good News. This includes a prophetic approach to be able to read and interpret the signs of the times, and, consequently, to have the capacity to adapt and change the structures, so as to become men of our times, faithful, joyful and creative, to favor a dialogue with other religions becoming a source of mutual enrichment and transformation. What justifies and gives identity and meaning to our consecrated life is the profound and coherent answer to Christ’s invitation to be one in his mission bygiving up everythingand follow him radically sharing in his life and mission.