200 YEARS AGO: 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

 

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One Response to 200 YEARS AGO: PREACHING – WE ARE FILLED WITH WHAT WE TEACH BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO INSTRUCT OTHERS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of the awe and wonder that our God inspires within us. How our Beloved fills our very being with goodness and the desire to share that, to live that –walking with others. I reread: “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.”

    My eyes fall upon the letter of Fr. Louis Lougen written for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which for some reason I left sitting there on top of my desk – the only sheet of paper atop the dark background of a wooden desk. The words seem to leap from the page: “…there is a direct relationship between the holiness of our lives and the efficacy of the ministry we do on behalf of God’s mission.”

    “…not with pretentious speech, but in demonstration of the Spirit…” I can only try to share what is shared with me, what is given to me and that fills me; that which I try to live out as best I can, as I have been called to live – in “demonstration of the Spirit”.

    I look once again at Eugene’s idea of preaching – 200 years ago and how that lives and fills life today. Suddenly the word “oblation” comes to mind – the total giving of oneself to God and so to the whole world. I am convinced once again that if this Rule can become lived within me then my preaching will be no more than the living it as fully as I can.

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