PREACHING: WE ARE FILLED WITH WHAT WE TEACH BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO INSTRUCT OTHERS

The central aim of preaching for Eugene was to instruct and to give a message that would lead people into a deeper relationship with God and one another:

Experience proves that it is possible to attain this desirable end, the only end indeed that we may lawfully set before us in this dangerous ministry, which so many vain and proud priests have exercised to their own misfortune and without obtaining the salvation of others.

It may be surprising to read of preaching as a “dangerous ministry”. When one considers the huge numbers flocking to the missions and all the emotion around the many conversions, the danger would have been for the Missionaries to take personal credit for it themselves and to forget that they were preaching as instruments of the Savior and His grace.

We shall not attain it, however, unless we renounce our own personal glory, and repress in the depth of our hearts the vain praises of men; in a word, unless like the Apostle we preach Jesus Christ and him crucified “not with pretentious speech, but in the demonstration of the Spirit,” that is to say, unless we make it evident that we are penetrated with what we teach, and that we have begun to practice, before attempting to instruct others.

1818 Rule Part 1, Chapter 3, §1 Preaching

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”   Oliver Goldsmith

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One Response to PREACHING: WE ARE FILLED WITH WHAT WE TEACH BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO INSTRUCT OTHERS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I was surprised at the words “dangerous ministry” until I read the explanation. This can be and is a very real danger, one that I at least must work on. My need to be recognized and well thought of is always something I need to keep re-examining in my life. You know what they say about recognizing ourselves in others!

    What really caught me though, was the title “Preaching: We are filled with what we teach before attempting to instruct others”. When I first read it I immediately thought ‘we can’t give what we do not know or have in our lives’. So if I am preaching, be it by word or my life, my actions and how I live, then I better “Be” rather than just “do”. God must be the centre of our lives, in very real way, He must fill us, our being, before we can go out to preach God’s love, before we can in any way be Co-operators of our Saviour. And even then it is a constant daily decision and commitment because of my own humanness. My way of saying what the 1818 Rule, Part One says with “… we make it evident that we are penetrated with what we teach, and that we have begun to practice, before attempting to instruct others”.

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