13 50 Years of Breaking the Word (1968-2018) - Fr Joseph Royan, CssR

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:24 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:24 PM ]
Breaking the Word" is at the very heart of who we are as Redemptorists, who are called to "follow the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, by preaching the Word of God to the poor, as He declared of Himself: 'He sent me to preach the good news to the poor.' (Lk 4:18)" (Redemptorist Constitution No. 1). Effective preaching involves effective breaking of God's Word to the people of God. Preaching the Word of God to the most abandoned poor was very central to the life of St Alphonsus. He was known as a tireless preacher of the Word of God. He devoted more than thirty years of his life towards preaching the Word of God to the simple rural folk, retreats for priests, seminarians and sisters. He preached more than 150 parochial or popular missions (Parochial Missions during the time of St Alphonsus would last anywhere from two to four weeks). His preaching was thoroughly persuasive, utterly convincing, born from his own conviction. His style was always simple; he derided elegant jargon and fuzzy abstractions. He insisted on the removal of all fancy words from sermons, and called for the use of everyday, normal language. He said of himself, "I may have to account to God for every other sort of sin, but not for improper preaching. For I have always preached in a way that everyone could understand me." To make sure he would be understood by his listeners, Alphonsus made frequent use of simple, familiar metaphors. He proved in fact to be a master of the apt image and illustration. The goal of his preaching was always to draw the listener to an experience of conversion and a deeper love and union with the Redeemer.

The Redemptorists, carrying on the legacy of their founder St Alphonsus, have through the centuries proclaimed the Word with simplicity and renewed enthusiasm. A Redemptorist in his priesthood is a servant of the Word, and serves the community as he breaks that Word for his people. It is worth quoting Constitution 6, "All Redemptorists, ever following the Magisterium of the Church, must be humble and courageous servants among people of the Gospel of Christ, the Redeemer and Lord, who is the head and a model of the new humanity. This message has for its special object plentiful redemption; it proclaims the love of God the Father 'who first loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins' (1 Jn 4:10) and through the Holy Spirit gives life to all who believe in Him."