Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Word on Homilies

Something for my priest buddies to discuss, mayhaps?

Despite its complexity, Father Viganò pointed out two important aspects to ensure that a homily achieves its communicative objective: the consistency of the preacher's life and the brevity and concreteness of the message.
Quoting a phrase of St. Bernardine of Siena, patron of advertisers, the priest emphasized that the key lies in the clarity of the homily. "The preacher must speak very, very clearly, so that the listener will leave satisfied and illumined, and not dazzled."
In regard to consistency, the author recalled a phrase from philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who said that "the difference between a pastor and an actor is precisely the existential moment: The pastor must be poor when he preaches about poverty; he must be slandered when he exhorts to endurance in slander. While the actor has the task of deceiving by eliminating the existential moment, the preacher in fact has the duty, in the most profound sense, to preach with his own life."
In regard to brevity, the priest explained that it is a question of avoiding both "non-existent homilies" as well as "endless homilies."
"St. Francis," Father Viganò recalled "exhorted his friars to use pondered and chaste words in their preaching, for the usefulness and edification of the people, proclaiming to the faithful the vices and virtues, the punishment and glory, with a brief speech, because on earth the Lord spoke brief words."

Tip to Joe Waters at Intentional Disciples


Lillian Marie said...

So does that mean that your 'fire & brimstone' homilies are out??? LOL
Darn! I was hoping to hear one!

uncle jim said...

Fire & Brimstone should fit nicely into these precepts, methinks...and would draw us nearer the core of the message; the kerygma [the proclamation, or preaching] done as in a kerusso-like manner [to cry out or proclaim as a herald] would do well to follow Fr Vigano's advice.

I read a book once entilted "Say it in Seven" - the point of which is to say whatever you have to say "in 7 minutes"!

Nice thought - hard to do for most.

Lillian Marie said...

All of the 'fire & brimstone' homilies I've heard (Catholic, that is) have been merely smolder & soot...not even touching the core. LOL

Then you get the 'be healed my child,' ' Je-sus,' evangelists that are on TV and they can talk for HOURS, literally! LOL
Of course, I'm on the edge of my seat...ready to RUN AWAY! LOL

Polonius said...

"Brevity is the soul of wit. Therefore I shall be brief."