Friday, September 11, 2009

Words of Wisdom from the Church Fathers

On Living Simply
St. John Chrysostom

"How should the Church be governed? Should the patriarchs act like emperors, issuing decrees which all believers must obey? Should bishops see themselves as local governors, demanding unquestioning submission of the people? Should the clergy be a kind of spiritual army, enforcing the will of the patriarchs and the bishops, and meting out punishment on sinners? The first consideration for the Church is not how to punish sins, but how to prevent sins from being committed... Moreover, each individual is answerable not to a priest, bishop or patriarch, but to God. So the primary authority of those within the Church is not to issue decrees, but to stir up the souls and enliven the consciences of believers... In short those in authority within the Church should see themselves not as rulers, but but as preachers and pastors."
I discovered the above quote on another website and found it such a beautiful and inspirational statement that I had to cop it for inclusion here. I account myself most blessed to serve in a Church whose superiors are exemplary of the kind of clergy the good Patriarch John endorses. For those of you who read or follow this rambling blog, please pray for me that I may grow in humility, obedience, and tenderness as a pastor and preacher. May I ever grow more deeply in love with the Gospel that is life and light for all who will accept it.

Note to self: Find a copy of Patriarch John's book and study it. Then pray it and study it again!

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