28 August 2007

The Paduan on preaching

Saint Anthony of Padua has a few excellent words on what people expect from homilies. Even though he spoke and wrote them some eight hundred years ago, he is still quite right:

Nowadays, preachers and congregations are so shallow that if a sermon is not full of polished and studied phrases [read "cliches"], and a dash of novelty [read "I'm OK, you're OK"], they are too critical to take any notice of it.


  1. Oh, boy, was he right!
    (And this was 800 years ago??!)

    I am VERY hesitant to be critical of any theologically-sound homily.
    I may not get much from it (or may not THINK I got much from it) but someone sitting there may be getting exactly the words he or she needs at that moment.
    Some of the "worst" homilies I have ever heard ("worst" in the world's terms, that is: priest not a good speaker, tripping over his words, lots of pauses) have touched me deeply when I reflected on them.

    I would not like to have to get up for 20 minutes or so every single Sunday (and for 10 or so minutes any other day) and speak to a group of people about subjects they may find uncomfortable, or maybe they just don't like my voice, or maybe I'm boring, or...

    Thank you, all my spiritual Fathers, who do this to save souls.
    I appreciate your every word and the time you spend writing and correcting and rewording.

  2. That could have been written today! Gosh, we should be thanking our priests for the homilies and not criticizing them. So Father D, keep up the excellent work!

  3. Last Sunday's homily was about Charlie Brown, seriously. I could have cried. Luckily after 10 minutes all I heard was "Wa Wa Wawaaaa wawawaw"

  4. Ma Beck: You're welcome!

    Esther: Thank you!

    Carolina: Wow. I'm sorry. Truly.