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FOR BISHOPS

 

 

ON THOSE WHO DECLINE THE OFFICE OF PREACHER OUT OF HUMILITY AND THOSE WHO SEIZE ON IT WITH PRECIPITATE HASTE

The former must be told that they should not give in to a lesser matter and neglect a more important activity. This would be like hiding money while the indigent needs it; it is like hiding the medicine of life from souls that are dying.

"Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel," St. Paul uttered. St. John was admonished to bring along others to where he was heading. Isaias reproached himself for holding his peace when he should have spoken. And Solomon promised an increase of knowledge to whoever shared his knowledge. David sang: Lord. . .I have declared Thy truth and They salvation.

Moses was told that he who is to be on God's side should smite the crimes of the wicked. . .i.e. by preaching, you help overcome forbidden temptations and smite vices whether in one's brother or friend.

While those incompetent to preach due to lack of skill or wisdom are like birds with short wings attempting to fly high, or a weak building structure attempting to carry a heavy load. . .their end is both ruin. "Stay you in the city until you have received power from on high." Christ showed that we have to grow in strength and wisdom before we can truly preach. Even Christ did not preach until His thirtieth year. At twelve, Christ was found, not preaching, but asking questions. The example shows that no one who is unfit should dare to teach, seeing that the Boy who is all-knowing wished to be taught by asking questions.

St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care, part III, Ch. 25

 

 

 


(11-21-02)

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