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"For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22)


"When FEAR knocks on your door, send FAITH to answer it."

The Book of Pastoral Care: Part I, Chapter 10

Concerning what sort of qualities should be present for one to assume spiritual leadership

By Pope St Gregory the Great


He must, therefore, be the model for everyone. He must be devoted entirely to the example of good living. He must be dead to the passions of the flesh and live a spiritual life. He must have no regard for worldly prosperity and never cower in the face of adversity. He must desire the internal life only. His intentions should not be thwarted by the frailty of the body, nor repelled by the abuse of the spirit. He should not lust for the possessions of others, but give freely of his own. He should be quick to forgive through compassion, but never so far removed from righteousness as to forgive indiscriminately. He must perform no evil acts but instead deplore the evil perpetrated by others as though it was his own. In his own heart, he must suffer the afflictions of others and likewise rejoice at the fortune of his neighbor, as though the good thing was happening to him. He must set such a positive example for others that he has nothing for which he should ever be ashamed. He should be such a student of how to live that he is able to water the arid hearts of his neighbors with the streams of doctrinal teaching. He should have already learned by the practice and experience of prayer that he can obtained from the Lord whatever he requests, as though it was already said to him, specifically, by the voice of experience: “When you are speaking, I will say ‘Here I am’.” (Isaiah 58:9)

If, for example, someone come asking us to intercede for them before some powerful man who was angry with him but did not know us, we would immediately respond that we were unable to intercede on his behalf because we do not have a relationship with the man in question. If, therefore, a person is too ashamed to intercede for another on whom he has no claim, how could anyone possibly assume the role of intercessor before God on behalf of the laity if he does not know himself to be in intimacy of his grace because of the merits of his life? And how can anyone possibly ask for forgiveness of another when he does not know if he is himself reconciled? In this regard, there is yet another concern, namely, that the one who is thought to be able to appease the wrath [of God] might actually provoke it on account of his guilt. Because we all know that when someone is out of favor is sent to intercede for another, the spirit of the angry person is provoked all the more. Therefore, let the one who is still tied to worldly concerns beware that he not further anger the strict Judge by delighting in a position of glory and actually becoming the source of ruin for the laity.


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