“Preaching, therefore, is a duty that is apostolic, angelic, Christian, divine. The word of God, is replete with manifold blessings, since it is, so to speak, a treasure of all goods. It is the source of faith, hope, charity, all virtues, all gifts of the Holy Spirit, all beatitudes of the Gospel, all good works, all the rewards of life, all the praise: Welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you.”
(From a sermon by Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, OFM CAP)
July 21st is the Feast day of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, a Franciscan Capuchin priest, born in Italy in the year 1559. A scholar, he was famous for his mastery of many languages. Because of this, he was sent into various European countries, on preaching missions. He became known as an effective and forceful preacher.
As an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church, one of my ministries is to proclaim the Gospel during the celebration of the Eucharist; and occasionally to preach on that reading from the Gospel. The above quote from Saint Lawrence strikes a chord within me; because the act of preaching can have an effect not only on the congregation hearing the homily, but also on the preacher himself. I prepare a week before I am scheduled to preach, prayerfully going over the Scripture readings for that Sunday. I try to open my mind and my heart to what the Word, Jesus Christ, wishes to reveal to me. I reflect on how the Gospel speaks not only to myself, but how it will speak to those sitting in front of me. What is that they need to hear; what words of comfort they need to experience. There have been times that I will delete a whole written page, because I have been inspired to take a different tack.
To preach is far different than any other type of public speaking. I stand behind the pulpit, with my written text; as I look over the people before me, I whisper a little prayer. Then, more often than not, the Holy Spirit takes over, guiding me, inspiring me; the words on the paper, takes on a life of their own. When I am done, I know that for me, it was a holy, sacred moment.
I have come to realize that there are many ways one can preach the Good News. It is why I am attracted to blogging; it is another way to share my experience of God’s love. And it is becoming a means of hearing about others experiences. And finally, the other means we all have to preach the Gospel, by the way each one of us strive to live in our daily lives; with our families, in our workplaces, in the stores, and on the streets.