The Missionaries, who spent a large part of their ministry in preaching the Gospel, needed to be clear about their priorities:
we must seek only to instruct the people,
to be attentive to the needs of the majority of the audience,
and we must not be content to break the bread of the Word of God for them,
but also, as it were, to chew it for them.
1818 Rule Part 1, Chapter 3, §1 Preaching
These four directives contain the heart of preaching for the Missionary. He had to be close to the people, so as to be aware of their needs. Only then could he respond by giving them the instruction that they needed.
Their aim was to feed their listeners with the Word of God – but not only in theory. Like a mother-bird feeding her chicks by having chewed the food first, they were to have chewed the Word themselves so as to nourish others. The Missionaries “chewed” the Word of God in their daily times of prayer and Gospel meditation and in trying their best to live it through the practice of the virtues, the lived values of the Kingdom. Then would the Missionary be able to say, like Saint Paul: “I hand on to you what I have received…”
“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Francis of Assisi