The Chapter nine of the Rule 1223 clearly manifests the mind of St. Francis of
regarding the ministry of Preaching. The first two verses of the chapter
describe who should be a ‘preacher’:
only those who are ‘appointed’ to preach. During his time preaching in public could not
be done by every one. Only those who
were qualified and appointed could preach.
Francis has included in the Rule this point, may be it was imposed upon
him by the Church authorities or canonists of the time. Still, we should take
note of it. Presently it can mean that
we cannot babble whatever we want from the pulpit. Preaching demands preparation. Some times ‘Capuchins’ are branded as
‘ex-tempore’ preachers. This brand
should go. We need to take sufficient
time to reflect study and meditate on the Word of God before we dare to open
our mouth. Assisi
The second paragraph of the chapter he gives, first of all, the pedagogy of preaching: that in preaching our “language be well considered and chaste”. Why Francis is so concerned about the language of preaching and insists on it as to make it a norm for his progeny of followers? May be the language used by other preachers at that time was either controversial or too bombastic and flowery, as a result of which the spiritual impact of the preaching was lost. Francis knew that the language used during preaching could hurt the hearts of listeners. He also knew that some times the preachers are too much preoccupied with moralizing and condemning the deeds of the wicked. Hence the exhortation. What we can learn from this exhortation is that our preaching should directly focus on the message. He says that our language should be “chaste”: it should not contain controversies and negative references to persons.
Secondly, Francis declares that all our preaching should be for the “benefit and edification” of people of God. The preaching should inspire the hearers to make them reflect. The purpose of all our preaching should be to touch the hearts. Jesus is the greatest model of our preaching He used the language of parables, the language understood by all people. But the message he communicated was thought provoking, direct and inspiring, compelling people to reflect further.
All of us can preach through our lives, namely, through our participation in the struggles of people, being at the side of sick and suffering, exploited and oppressed, humiliated and depressed. We can preach through our commitment to our daily duties and responsibilities, faithfulness to our daily obligation to pray and work. We can also preach through our literary works, scientific research, and creative products like poetry, drama, musical works, and media engagements.
- Fr. Vincent Gabriel Furtado, OFM Cap, ex/provincial Minister of Holy Trinity Province....one of his circular Message