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The bishop must lead by example, so that by the manner of his life he may show the WAY to his subjects; and the flock may the better follow through example rather than words.

He who preaches the highest ideals is bound to demonstrate those ideals. He will move hearts if his way of life commends what he says.

He who preaches heavenly topics must have abandoned earthly deeds. He will readily draw his subjects if his voice comes from a supernatural height.

As all priests, his conduct should be not only profitable, but outstanding. He should not only be upright in the midst of the wicked, but be the best among the good. He surpasses all in dignity, let him surpass all in virtue.

He must not covet the things of this present life, nor fear human disapproval. He must despise the vanities of the world.

The priestly humeral veil that hangs on both shoulders symbolizes the virtues he must possess so he may not be elated by prosperity, nor disconcerted by adversity; so he may not be enthusiastic when the way is smooth, and cast down when it is rough. He lacks these virtues if he sighs for the beauty of his Maker, but neglects the care of his neighbor. He also lacks these virtues if he so busy with the care of his neighbor that he grows listless when meditating on Divine topics.

Let his mind, therefore, be intent on charity, while his flesh is mortified by abstinence.


St. Pope Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care, Part II, Chapter 3

(updated 02-09-02)

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