ON THOSE WHO DECLINE THE
OFFICE OF PREACHER OUT OF HUMILITY AND THOSE WHO SEIZE ON IT WITH
The former must be told
that they should not give in to a lesser matter and neglect a more
important activity. This would be like hiding money while the indigent
needs it; it is like hiding the medicine of life from souls that are
"Woe to me if I do
not preach the gospel," St. Paul uttered. St. John was admonished
to bring along others to where he was heading. Isaias reproached
himself for holding his peace when he should have spoken. And Solomon
promised an increase of knowledge to whoever shared his knowledge.
David sang: Lord. . .I have declared Thy truth and They salvation.
Moses was told that he who
is to be on God's side should smite the crimes of the wicked. . .i.e.
by preaching, you help overcome forbidden temptations and smite vices
whether in one's brother or friend.
While those incompetent to
preach due to lack of skill or wisdom are like birds with short wings
attempting to fly high, or a weak building structure attempting to
carry a heavy load. . .their end is both ruin. "Stay you in the
city until you have received power from on high." Christ showed
that we have to grow in strength and wisdom before we can truly
preach. Even Christ did not preach until His thirtieth year. At
twelve, Christ was found, not preaching, but asking questions. The
example shows that no one who is unfit should dare to teach, seeing
that the Boy who is all-knowing wished to be taught by asking
St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral
Care, part III, Ch. 25