A Challenge to Pastors and Priests: Evangelical Catholic “review” part XIII
Discussion Thought of the day:
5 I left you in Crete, so that you could put in order the things that still needed doing and appoint church elders in every town. Remember my instructions: 6 an elder must be without fault; he must have only one wife, and his children must be believers and not have the reputation of being wild or disobedient. 7 For since a church leader is in charge of God’s work, he should be without fault. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered, or a drunkard or violent or greedy for money. 8 He must be hospitable and love what is good. He must be self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the message which can be trusted and which agrees with the doctrine. In this way he will be able to encourage others with the true teaching and also to show the error of those who are opposed to it. Titus 1:5-9 (TEV)
George Weigel, in the book I am finding more and more remarkable, continues on his list (which I commented on 2 points of last week) for the standards for priests:
3. If this priest has been primarily engaged in parish work, have his parishes grown through his ministry? If his principal work has been in a seminary, college, or university, have his students flourished under his guidance, spiritually as well as intellectually?
4. How does this priest celebrate Holy Mass, in specific and concrete terms? Does his liturgical ministry lead those in his pastoral charge into a deep experience of the Paschal Mystery of the Lord’s death, resurrection, and ascension? Does his manner of leading the Church in liturgical prayer honor the baptismal dignity of his congregants? Is he regularly found with his people in Eucharistic adoration?
5. How many men have entered the seminary under this priest’s guidance? How many women have entered consecrated religious life through his influence? Does he foster holy marriages and stable Catholic families that are themselves “little churches”? Does he encourage lay movements of Catholic renewal? Does he guide popular piety well? Does he promote frequent reception of the sacrament of Penance, and does he devote significant time to his ministry as a confessor? Does he encourage his people to read the Bible daily? Is he, in other words, a man who can facilitate the universal call to holiness because he is a man of holiness himself?
Obviously, there are a few differnces in terminology and practice between men who are Lutheran pastors and Roman Catholic Priests. (for example – while many of us will meditate on the passion of Christ and confess it is Christ’s Body and Blood, we don’t have a service of Eucharistic Adoration) this lists thrills me, and yet… well…. let’s just say I am convicted by it – especially point 5.
But a pastor/priest of whom these things are true, is one people will entrust their souls to, as the one appointed/ordained to care for them, a call of God, recognized through the church. They will confess their sins to him, and receive absolution ( I do need to devote more time to make myself available for this) I love the prahsem, “a man who can facilitate the universal call to holiness because he is a man of holiness himself.” Such a man is one whom can be what old Lutherans calls a seelsorge – the caretaker of the soul.
We desperately need that, these days. Recent events and conversations in my life more that confirm it, and to me it ticks me off, until I ask the same about me. Are my people willing to let me care for their souls? Have they grown to know I will be there for them, that I will speak to them God’s mercy – with more zeal and energy and desire? Will they also be encouraged to walk with God, forsaking all that would be the world’s preference? Will they lay down their worries, their burdens and concerns as I encourage them? They need it, we are the ministers of the gospel, the good news… need to provide these encounters with Christ where they will see His love revealed to them….
Will they grow in trust of God, will their dependence on His love and mercy and presence deepen?
It’s not all up to me, I know this… and God will work, even through my errors. (although that is no excuse)
But do i desire to see my people know what I’ve known?
Yesterday, a dear friend came and spoke to some pastors in my area. He talked of coping with a family member who was significantly challenged. And he spoke of his own battles with darkness. In the middle of his self-disclosure and hope in Chirst, he quoted this passages.
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NLT)
Lord, Have Mercy on us, that we might show that comforting mercy to others….and have mercy that they will desire it more and more! AMEN!
Weigel, George (2013-02-05). Evangelical Catholicism (pp. 122-123). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.
Posted on June 12, 2013, in Devotions, Good Articles, Theology in Practice and tagged Christ, Evangelical Catholic, George Weigel, God, Jesus, Ministers, ministry of reconciliation, pastors, priests, seelsorge. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.