If we ask which is the verb that Eugene founded us to do, it is “to preach.” It sums up the reason for our existence: to preach the Gospel to the poor, to bring the most abandoned to know God’s salvation. For this reason, he insisted on proper training and preparation for preaching.
We must seek only to instruct the faithful, to be attentive to the needs of the greater part of the audience, and we must not be content to break the bread of the Word of God for them, but also to chew it for them.
1818 Rule Part 1, Chapter 3, §1
The young Oblates were taught to chew the Word of God as the foundation of preparing sermons, and were given opportunities to practice breaking the Word in church.
… We are having our sub deacons preach on Sunday and I assure you that the two I have heard these last two Sundays have pleased me very much. Mille was excellent and Clement very good. I would not have expected it had they not told me in advance that I would be pleased. Next Sunday will be the turn of Pons, and on Christmas Day, Paris, and the second feast will be Mille again who has not yet begun to write his text, which shows you that he composes with great ease.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 14 December 1829, EO VII n 340
Just in case the Mazenodian Family members think that this refers only to priests and deacons, let us remember that the vocation of each of us is to proclaim the Word of God through the quality of our words and actions in our daily lives and activities. As members of the Mazenodian Family, our verb is “to preach” – and in order to do this we need to chew the Word of God and be permeated by it each day. (cf. http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=1368 )