Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants
for Jesus’ sake” (
2 Cor
144. To speak from the heart means that our
hearts must not just be on fire, but also enlight-
ened by the fullness of revelation and by the
path travelled by God’s word in the heart of the
Church and our faithful people throughout his-
tory. This Christian identity, as the baptismal
embrace which the Father gave us when we were
little ones, makes us desire, as prodigal children
– and favourite children in Mary – yet another
embrace, that of the merciful Father who awaits
us in glory. Helping our people to feel that they
live in the midst of these two embraces is the
difficult but beautiful task of one who preaches
the Gospel.
145. Preparation for preaching is so important
a task that a prolonged time of study, prayer,
reflection and pastoral creativity should be de-
voted to it. With great affection I wish to stop
for a moment and offer a method of prepar-
ing homilies. Some may find these suggestions
self-evident, but I consider it helpful to offer
them as a way of emphasizing the need to de-
vote quality time to this precious ministry. Some
pastors argue that such preparation is not pos-
sible given the vast number of tasks which they
must perform; nonetheless, I presume to ask that
each week a sufficient portion of personal and
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