“Why” I Preach – Week 2

The “why” in my calling to preach is an important thing to name. It’s something I feel I may have lost sight of. 

Being a part of more than one minority community, I have always felt the call for more inclusion in our Church. Inclusion is often what fuels me. How can we make a church that truly embodies the unconditional love of God? One that isn’t a sounding gong or a clashing cymbal. How can I work to use my experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community as a method of calling the church to a better representation of the unconditional love of God? How do I, as a black female, challenge the church not live in complacency but to live in the discomfort of working to change the systems that oppress the people of color in their community? How can I as a woman in our Church show that women are not only capable and willing to lead, but that they have always been a force within the church?

At the beginning of this year, mine call felt ablaze. I knew exactly where I was going. I was called to be a preacher. Preaching was a chance to share the gospel on my heart in ways that could not be done at the pulpit. Knowing this, I discovered my passion for preaching set ablaze in Africa. As it burned, I saw the opportunity to be someone I missed in my youth. A black, Catholic female voice to speak to the masses and enliven the church! A face that I spent my life looking for at numerous CYO, Lifeteen, and other young adult retreats, and a face that I still fail to see now at Focus retreats and other large Catholic functions. In my youth, I wondered “why” there was no one to represent my outlook or the issues concerning my heart.

Preaching could help me do this. Preaching brings the Gospel to life! Preaching is one way to make it accessible to people day. It brings scripture to life and allows those listening to see the work of the Spirit moving in their lives.A good preacher moves you to actions and reflection. Reflecting on your life and if you are truly walking with Jesus. It lets you not live in the complacency of passive Christianity but challenges you to the real and life changing call of Christ. It brings the church alive. We are not stagnant and stale, we are people alive and on FIRE with Christ! Dr. King’s preaching empowered action to transform the broken world and to make it anew. 

I, once, believed the Spirit working through me had that ability. I saw it, and I knew it could be true. With the weight of the world, I currently feel drowned in all I have not done and all I want to say. On this week’s call, a wise participant said that “Our life and lived experience is a living sermon.”  I believe this is true, so perhaps my sermon is just about to take a turn.

There is power in The Word and in the words we use to convey it. #holyspiritcome!

5 thoughts on ““Why” I Preach – Week 2

  1. Dear Kayla, thank you for digging into the “why!” of your call to preach. In your call to preach I hear not only a call to be up in front of the church as the face that you have been looking for – a black, Catholic, female voice – and not only a call to offer a more inclusive and on-fire perspective as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but also a call to transform the way that many Catholics experience preaching itself. I feel like so much preaching in the eurocentric Catholic church is considered routine, and is often judged by how brief it can be in the context of a euro-American US-Roman-Catholic exactly 1 hr mass. I say eurocentric because I have experienced this close attention to time in churches that are culturally white, while in churches that are culturally black or latinx there is often more time given for the sign of peace, the homily, and the music. This is even true at chaplaincy and university chapel events, though the preaching there is often more inspired, especially when students are invited in to preach.

    So I feel enthusiastic and want to know more both about “all you have not done and all you want to say,” AND about the kind of preaching you did in Africa, that showed you there was much more to preaching than what could be done from the pulpit. Where and how? I hear in your words a different kind of Catholic homilizing experience, and even different kinds of gatherings than the “typical” mass with a “typical” homily…which is certainly needed at this time of social distancing.

  2. So. When are you going to start creating spaces to preach. (maybe, you already are, so please don’t feel attacked or get defensive — this is meant to stir you up, not put you down)

    Preach here. Record the sermon as a post. Let it live and ask for our feedback so you can get even better.
    Preach the Word you need to hear. And SHARE it. In this weird time of zoom worship — you may have more audience than you’d know.

    What’s more:

    How do you use this moment, to force Notre Dame to open up its pulpit to hear your voice — not just in extra-liturgical moments, but on Sunday at Mass? And In the dorm YOU lead and shepherd? Who do you need on your side to make that happen? Could you envision a path? Would it be worth the fight?

    Who will mentor you?
    Who are your favorite preachers? Who do you follow and listen to?

    “I currently feel drowned in all I have not done and all I want to say.”

    No surprise. Like Jeremiah, there are a million sermons pent up in your bones.
    And the shit-work of it, is that you have to fight to get to say them.
    When the others just get up on Sunday and get to do their job.
    It really is shit.
    But it means you’ll never take the pulpit for granted or take the task lightly. So people will be moved in ways they’ve forgotten they could be.

    What keeps you from it? How does *preaching& get drowned in the face of all the other responsibilities?
    What scares you about advocating for your own vocation? What’s the risk? Is it worth it? Who will stand at your side, and have your back? (Like Jeremiah, they may want to throw you in the pit. So you need friends who will come and toss you a rope to get back out and keep on with the ministry and the prophetic call that is unrelenting)

  3. Kayla, I see that fire in you to preach the words your young self needed to hear and to preach what young people today are needing to hear. We need your voice! What if you knew that your voice is exactly the voice that needs to be heard today? Can you imagine three different Catholic venues where you would enjoy preaching? Would you be interested in preacing for Catholicwomenpreach.org?

  4. This fell into my lap(top) while searching for something else. So here’s a face that looks like yours. I fell in love with this woman and her big heart as she preaches to the incoming 2015 seminary class at Duke University. I want to hear more voices like hers. Catch the brass ring however you can. Make waves.


Leave a Reply