Thursday, January 25, 2007

More Wisdom from the Golden-Mouthed

"More billows toss the priest's soul than the gales which trouble the sea.

"First of all there is the dreadful rock of vainglory...If anyone entrusted this charge to me, he would be as good as binding my hands behind my back and delivering me to the wild beasts that inhabit that rock, to savage me every day. And what are those beasts? Anger, dejection, envy, strife, slanders, accusations, lying, hypocrisy, intrigue, imprecations against those who have done no harm, delight at disgraceful behaviour in fellow priests, sorrow at their successes, love of praise, greed for preferment (which more than anything else hurls the human soul to destruction), teaching meant to please, slavish wheedling, ignoble flattery, contempt for the poor, fawning on the rich, absurd honours and harmful favours which endanger giver and receiver alike, servile fear fit only for the meanest of slaves, restraint of plain speaking, much pretended and no real humility, failure to scrutinize and rebuke, or, more likely, doing so beyond reason with the humble while no one dares so much as to open his lips against those who wield power.
"The priestly office might well accuse us of not handling it rightly. It is not itself the cause of the evils I have mentioned. It is we on our part who have smirched it with stain upon stain, by entrusting it to commonplace men. And they eagerly accept what is offered to them, without first examining their own souls or considering the gravity of the matter. And when they come to exercise this ministry, their eyes are blinded with inexperience and they fill the congregations entrusted to them with a thousand and one troubles."

St. John goes on to say that instead of being a head of a church, God has kept him as a foot, which is where he belongs! (of course he didn't stay a foot forever...or maybe he did, even as his preaching has inspired many generations)

Well I don't know about you, but I've seen all of this. And it certainly gives me pause about considering priesthood.

(Translation is by Graham Neville, St. Vlad's press, 1984)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the excerpt. I, too, have seen (or experienced) most of these.