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 )

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How do I preach the Word of God? Is it a bit of mixed message, with some good words or deeds at one time but with actions, verbal expressions and thoughts that are less than stellar at other times?

    I laugh at myself this morning for reading this in it’s entirety my mind rushed to think how I could possible spend more time learning about God, could there be a shortcut and then wondering if I am in the right place. Looking for points of escape because I suddenly fear I do not have what it takes to live in such a specific way. I am too human, both in exterior actions and interior being – most imperfect. I am tempted with thoughts of “I am too old to do this now” and “it’s too much work – I wonder if there is short-cut”. Not exactly stellar thoughts for sure.

    But God is pointing the way here – God is using Eugene and Frank, the Oblates and all those I love to point the way. And in spite of the struggles, the fears and temptations that visit me momentarily I set them aside to say okay – Okay Lord.

    So how am I going to proclaim the Word of God throughout my daily life and activities? I don’t want it to be in a wishy-washy way just so I can tell me self I am doing it. No that is not enough for it would cheat both God and myself. Nor can it be a huge showy thing that would take up my whole day for then it will simply become burdensome and I will eventually drop it. I want it to be real, it must be more than just words – I want it to transform me – I want my heart and being to be transformed. I really do want to become permeated by the Word of God – if it is a part of me I will be ‘preaching’ it with my life.

  2. Patrick M McGee, OMI says:

    Our community life would be greatly enhanced if we added a weekly gathering for Lectionary Divina and faith sharing; we need to open ourselves to one another about how the Word of God touches us, challenges us, and consoles us. This could also assist us in preaching preparation! I believe that Eugene had in mind a role for the community in the preaching mission, not simply an individualistic approach to “my sermon”. All of us as members of the Body of Christ are called to “preach the Gospel” in our daily lives!

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