St. Dominic had tremendous zeal for the salvation of souls. This zeal flowed from his intense love for Christ and the Church. At every opportunity, St. Dominic sought to form himself in Christ’s truth so as to become a more luminous and effective witness of the Gospel.
Like St. Dominic, each fraternity member is called to spread the salt and light of Christ to the world. Christ Himself mandates this call; He commands His disciples to go out to the world and preach the good news. This call is evangelical in nature. Christ Himself expects His disciples-with His grace and help-to bring the Gospel to every person and to bear witness to Him without fear. When we look at St. Dominic, we see a life of heroic self-sacrifice and fortitude in preaching the good news. The establishment of Dominican institutions across the world is evidence of the hearty roots planted by St. Dominic’s effective preaching.
When we speak of apostolate, we mean the work that we do for Christ and the salvation of souls. For a Dominican, that work can be many things, but at its heart it always involves preaching. Prayer, study, and community life are essential to Dominican spirituality because each forms the Dominican for more effective preaching of Christ to the world. The apostolic life of a Dominican, then, is where the call to preach is set in motion, and the benefits of one’s prayer, study, and community life are infused into one’s preaching.
Fraternity members , who are mostly laity living and working in the world, have a special call in their apostolic life. Lay people have the ability to penetrate with the Gospel areas of the world that religious cannot reach. Therefore, like St. Dominic, fraternity members have a very specific apostolate that they choose to undertake, that of preaching the Gospel to the poorly catechized, to the uncatechized, to unbelievers, and to those who are hostile to the Gospel. Fraternity members are called to imitate the fearless example of their founder who labored his entire life as a priest against the insidious Albigensian heresy, even staying awake all night at a pub, evangelizing and persuading the pub owner until the man’s eyes were opened to the truth of Christ! The apostolate of the Fraternities of St. Dominic always involves teaching truth, especially to those people who are farthest from it.
As St. Dominic himself would have it, the expectation is that Dominicans will be the heralds and teachers of truth to every age and that they will undertake this mission with unquenchable yearning for the salvation of souls. Every age should be able to count on Dominicans to perform well this service for Christ and the Church.