Nurturing New Preachers
For a few days we had a little community of friars with us. Since both are deacons they took turns preaching at Mass each morning. Brothers tell us either that preaching to their sisters is easy since we are so encouraging or they tell us that when they stand at the altar and look into the choir they suddenly become terrified! One friar, who was a frequent visitor to our monastery since his family lived nearby chided one Sister after his very first time preaching, "You were laughing the whole time!" "I was not," she retorted! "I was smiling for joy!"
Brother Timothy was just recently ordained a deacon and we were the recipients of his third official homily! Bro. Augustine will be ordained a priest next month and we are looking forward to his return and First Mass with us soon!
While we enjoyed our visit in the parlor before the brothers had to return to Washington, DC, we felt privileged to offer them simply a time to be with their Sisters, to pray together and to listen to the Word together in silence. As their sisters, one of the most important aspects of our vocation is to nurture our brothers as preachers through our prayer so that, refreshed and renewed they can once again go out, preaching the Resurrection to the whole world!
In The Contemplative Life, Fr. Thomas Philippe, OP has this to say about the complementary of our vocations:
Contemplatives have thus a double responsibility: to strengthen preachers by their contemplation, and to form them by their thirst for the Word. The cloister is consequently the place par excellence where the mystery of holy preaching ought to be lived. Both the preacher and his listeners are sincerely searching and both have the Holy Spirit as their interior teacher. It is in the cloister that the preacher in a sense is first prepared for combat; only later does he approach the world where he will face the struggle of giving what is not welcome. Preaching in the cloister is a kind of private preaching like that of Our Lord, who spent thirty years at Nazareth teaching Mary and only afterward approached the crowds.
It would be wrong to think that one should not preach in the cloister until after having preached to the people. It is just the other way around. It is better to begin by being formed among one’s brothers and sisters in an atmosphere of peace and then, after having attempted to articulate one’s contemplation, to be sent into battle. This is in fact what we find in the Church—for example, in the case of St. Augustine. Be aware, therefore, of your responsibility toward your brothers, and pray for them.