Preaching as Praying Complementary Methods for Sacred Eloquence in the Teaching of St. Francis de Sales

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Thomas Francis Dailey

Abstract

Recent criticism of Catholic preaching centers on a dichotomy between religion and faith, considered to be an outmoded remnant of Counter-Reformation thinking.  This article proposes, on the contrary, that one of the great Counter-Reformation preachers — St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) — can serve as a source and model of sacred eloquence for preachers today.   By adopting the complementary methodologies for praying and preaching expounded by St. Francis de Sales, homilists will have at their disposal an inspired means for effectively communicating the Good News of religious faith. By preaching as they pray, they can realize what Pope Francis means when he says, "The homily can actually be an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth" (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 135).

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