We should see to it that, when our sermons are over, they, instead of presuming to bestow foolish admiration on what they have not understood,
will rather return to their homes instructed and well disposed,
instructed, and able to repeat in their families what they have learned from our lips.

1818 Rule Part 1, Chapter 3, §1 Preaching

When we sit down to prepare a sermon, we need to ask ourselves, “What message do I want the people to remember clearly as they walk out of the church and go back to their daily occupations?” Then, everything in the sermon is prepared in the light of that goal with only one desire: to instruct and to give an unforgettable message that will nourish the lives of the listeners throughout the week.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    If a doctor speaks to me in unfamiliar medical terms I will be unable to make sense of them and if I am unable to make sense of the meaning, how will I ever be able to live them or share them. Without a teacher who will explain those words, translate them and chew them up for me so that I can swallow them and make them a part of myself they will be like the seeds sown along the wayside on rocky ground – they will be blown and washed away – unable to take root, grow and give fruit.

    The words that Jesus spoke were the words of scriptures and then he would use parables to explain them so that all who heard them could learn to ‘live’ them. I look at the message here today: four short lines from part of Eugene’s 1818 Rule, in 19th century language. And then I look at the words explained in the language we use in the 21st century: “what message do I want the people to remember clearly as they walk out of the church…”

    Yesterday I watched the funeral of George Bush, a statesman, a father, a friend and I heard how he was spoken of and how his words and way of being were preached in and with his life. The message left by the priest in his homily as well as those who gave a eulogy was unforgettable and I happily was able to share some of what was said to a friend that I spoke to later in the evening.

    I look at the language of the OMI Constitutions and Rules from 2010 – the same message but using the vernacular of today – chewed and swallowed so that they can be shared with all of us, so that we can receive the message and in turn make them a part of us to then live and share with others.

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