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are pulling at the rein, and we must hold them kindly but firmly and teach them the value of "the things unseen." There are the sorrow-laden into whose homes has come the dark angel of death, or from whose hands have been stricken the means of the family's support; there are the unfortunate and the careless, the sinner and the saint. What golden opportunities for the power given to us by the Master! "Preach the Gospel to every creature," the Gospel, with its comforts and its joys, with its hopes and its rewards, with the Cross and the glorious Resurrection, with the Mother and the Son, with its injunction, "This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him," with the invitation and command, "Follow me," and with the glorious assurance, "I am the way, the life and the truth."
May God grant that our young priests will be well equipped for the splendid work which lies before them. There is in Washington an institution which has for its purpose the preparation of priests for non-Catholic missions. It is a splendid advance upon the past. Its work cannot be too highly commended. Yet I cannot help but think that its scope should be enlarged. It should stand not only for non-Catholic missions but for the Catholic pulpit in all its aspects. It should be the crown and diadem upon the brow. of our seminaries' endeavor. May the day be hastened when it will be a part of the great Catholic University for the teaching of sacred eloquence, to which every seminary will be preparatory and contributory.
THE TEACHING OF HOMILETICS IN THE
REV. THOMAS F. BURKE, C. S. P., NEW YORK, N. Y.
It is to-day being more and more recognized as a principle of pedagogy, that the teacher must have an intimate and sympathetic knowledge of the pupil. The best educator is not the man or woman who, possessed of cut and dried information or filled with facts and ideas, attempts to force and compel the mind to their acceptance; but rather the one who, full of knowledge himself, studies how he may best prepare the individual mind for
the reasonable, ready and willing acceptance of his gifts. In the classroom, from the lowest to the highest grade, the successful teacher of any subject whatsoever, is the one who himself first. enters the child mind and acquaints himself with its thoughts and ideas, with its peculiarities and tendencies, in a word with its individuality. He gets into touch with the intellect that he would affect. He finds his way into the ever mysterious world of the particular soul. According to his discoveries, he adapts his message.
What is true of the teacher in the classroom is likewise true of the highest teacher in the world, the priest in the pulpit. He would forget that there exist real and personal relations between the preacher and the people, who would not consider his audience; he would neglect the first requisite for good preaching who would not consider the needs of the hearts to which he appeals, the capacity of the minds to which he speaks, the characters of the souls he would save. There is probably no educational field in which the recognition of this principle is more imperatively demanded than in the teaching of homiletics. That art which consists of the expression of one's personal thought, indeed of one's personal self, in the eloquence of words, requires in its master, an intimate knowledge of the pupil, an understanding of that self that he would teach how to impress its own. thought upon others.
Thus, it may not be amiss, in this second paper upon the teaching of homiletics in the seminary, to consider, from what we may call the student's viewpoint, the subject which has been so ably and fully treated from the point of view of the professor.
The first note of success in the preacher is individuality, and the first thing to be considered when instructing the future preachers of God's Word is their individuality. Oratory is an art, and art consists in the perception of the ideal through the real. It is the individual human soul that is constantly in search of the ideal, constantly perceiving, constantly feeling, constantly expressing it. From the expression of the ideal in form, shape and color, the painter is born; from its expression in the emotion of harmonious sound, the musician is born; from its expression in thought, the poet and orator are born. And as it would
be unfitting to trammel the artist, or the musician, or the poet with the shackles of hidebound rules, so, too, would it be unbecoming to limit the powers of the preacher by forming him according to laws of uniformity in exactly the same mould with his fellows. It is true that painting has its fundamental rules, and music and poetry have their laws; it is true that oratory also must have its rules and laws, but these are as the foundation to a mighty and beautiful structure, necessary but at the same time hidden.
There have been and there ever will be different and yet most successful types of preachers, and it would be presumption upon the part of any to select one of these as the best to be adopted as the sole model for priests in their work as the "fishers of men." The Curé of Ars with his simple and pious instructions; Lacordaire with his intellectual and spiritual charm; Newman with his instinctive logic and unsurpassed English; Father Tom Burke with his dramatic power and holy enthusiasm-all imparted the message of God to the heart and soul; all gave voice to the same ideals; all won souls for heaven; all stand forth as models of sacred eloquence-but each was different from the others. Only a glance is needed in the present day and in our own country, to see that such different types now exist; and who would say that it were better had all these been reduced to the one type?
Deprive any preacher of his individuality and the principal charm of the spoken word is lost. What has been true in the past of sacred eloquence; what is true in the field of oratorical activity to-day, is likewise true of those minds in the seminary that look forward to the future. In "embryo" there exist in the seminary these various types, and any course in homiletics falls short of its object in so far as it neglects the personal individual element in the development of the preacher. The cause of many a failure in preaching has been the inability to conform oneself to the one particular model that has been offered for imitation. Had due allowance been made in the course of homiletics for the individual characteristics, such as inclination, disposition, temperament, health, physical power, literary ability, personal magnetism, dramatic force, natural insight, human sympathy and the
like, success would have crowned the efforts that at the best result in mediocre work for God and His Kingdom.
One man might accomplish much in the simple style of the Curé of Ars, who, were he to attempt the flights of Lacordaire, would enter into the regions of mere bombast. Another, gifted in dramatic force, might well achieve a success like to that of the Irish Dominican, who would be dry and prosaic were he to attempt the beauties of Newman. While yet again others would naturally preach their best in the style of the Frenchman of Notre Dame or in that of the English Cardinal. To be able to distinguish man from man; to appreciate the difference existent between mind and mind; to be possessed of a power of vision that can look into the depths of the soul and heart, these, I think, whether you consider his work as a teacher either of composition or of delivery, are the first requirements in the professor of homiletics. The right of the pupil supposes the responsibility of the teacher.
Individuality necessarily supposes originality. Better to be original and fail than to be a plagiarist and succeed. One of -the most degrading practices-intellectually speaking-that could be imagined, is the slavish copying of others. There is, for example, on the market to-day a book of sermons, many of which, to my own knowledge, are copied, practically word for word, from sermons published elsewhere and by other authors. This is bad, but is it much worse than the practice of the professor who, walking up and down, dictates word for word to a room full of students, a sermon-though it be his own-with which they are supposed to stir the hearts and convince the intellects of future. listeners? To have models, to be familiar with the best work of the best preachers of the past and of the present, may be of untold value to the student, but the slavish use of such is a most potent cause of mental stagnation. Not to be a mere puppet or parrot; not to be merely an elocutionist or even an actor giving forth the thought of others, but to be himself a thinker, and a worker, fashioning, though it be through an effort of tears and blood, his own product; this is to fulfill the office of the preacher of the Word; this is to infuse into the divine message that human vitality which can offer it palpitating with life unto others,
The world of material upon which preachers must work may be the same for all, the doctrines of the Faith, the words of the Scriptures, the laws of moral conduct, the principles of spiritual life; but in order that any message based upon these may be living, it must bear the stamp of the individual mind. As many artists painting the same landscape may draw forth, with varying success, different expressions of the ideal, so the preachers of the Word should be able to offer the varied aspects of the same truth.
It may be well asked as a consequence of the recognition of this element, "How far should individuality be allowed to assert itself?" This question resolves itself into another: "How far, in the preacher, should the spirit, how far should what we may call the technique of the sermon prevail?"
Looking back into the student mind of my own day—and human nature does not essentially change-I know that the general feeling among seminarians was a disdain for that part of the training of a preacher which may be well called the technique of expression-the articulation, the gesture, the manner and so on. I remember well an incident which brings out this point. A class of about forty students had through half the year's term been instructed in the principles of homiletics, in the theoretical part of sermonizing: the selection of the subject, the planning of the discourse, the books to be read and consulted and a variety of other matters pertaining to the making or composing of a sermon. It was the desire of the head of the institution that the remaining part of the year in that class should be devoted to the elocutionary side of homiletics. For this purpose he had secured a most able preacher, and one calculated, if anybody could, to fill the position. A rumor reached the rector's ears that the students objected to this man because they considered that he was artificial, what we might call overtrained in elocution. Leaving the matter to a vote, there were, as I remember, only three out of the forty students who desired to follow a course under this noted preacher, with the result that his services were dispensed with.
I cite this not to contend that the students were right, but to make clear the ideas of many upon the subject and to make clear the attitude of mind which the teacher of homiletics must recognize and with which he must cope. Perhaps our attitude was the