Monday, January 19, 2009

Preach It!

I have been studying the Order of Preachers (a.k.a. Dominicans) for a while. At first, I had difficulty warming up to them. One of their primary charisms is preaching. This seemed too intellectual and not spiritual enough for me. But, the more I studied them, the more I came to appreciate them and love the order. My problem was that I failed to understand the real depth of preaching! And I must confess that it was a failure I had when I left the Catholic Church and briefly became a Protestant pastor. I needed to expand my understanding of "preaching" to include both the verbal and non-verbal aspects of it.

There is a tremendous amount of deep spirituality involved in true preaching of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. It is meant to be for all Christians of every walk of life. Preaching must include how we preach with our lives. By that I mean we must express the gospel message of God's love for us through our daily living. Too often we can miss opportunities to share our faith with others by forgetting the object of our love and faith--God! How often have we maybe done the opposite and taught people that God is not real or with us?

Most people are very observant when it comes to how we react under many kinds of situations. If they know we are Christian, we are especially scrutinized. "Oh look! And that person says they are a Christian, but look how she/he acts!" When we are put into situations that are stressful or require us to be dilligent, fair, just, or compassionate, how do we respond? Do we just jump in and do what is expected, and if it gets too frustrating, do we pack it in and quit?

Do we pray about the situation and ask God to become a part of all of our actions? This requires lots of practice! Many of us do not initially think about God as we are confronted with a situation. Many of us wait until we are in REAL deep before we ask God for help. Usually, we have already become frustrated and ranted and cursed and created a scene that is anything but a gospel message. But, if we turn to God in all parts of our life and we pray to God and ask God to be in our lives, we can become a preaching moment for anyone who is having trouble with their own faith life.

Their is a very deep spirituality in this kind of preaching, and it is available to anyone who would simply include God and prayer in their lives throughout the day. For a returning Catholic like me, the Order of preachers has taught me a valuable lesson for my faith and how I live it.

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