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FOR BISHOPS

 

 

THOSE LEARNED IN SCRIPTURES BUT ARE NOT HUMBLE IN PREACHING

Those who have a speck of understanding of Scriptures are warned that, in dealing with divine words, they must first look unto themselves before looking at others; that, in teaching others, they don't forget that Scriptures is against the proud. Indeed, he is a poor and unskilled physician who aims at healing others but is ignorant of his own ailment.

He who speaks without humility is one who heals others but fails to see his own infections; in attempting to heal others he, himself, dies.

The way you speak of divine things must conform with the excellence of what is said; never say one thing in words and another thing by your outward conduct. Why do you, who speak words not your own, swell with pride as if the words were your own? 

He who speaks from God and before God must do so only to please God. "Every proud man is an abomination to the Lord," for he seeks his own glory from the Word of God; he invades the right of the Giver and does not fear at all to prefer his own praise to Him from whom he has received the very thing for which he is praised. 

A humble preacher listens first to the things he has to say. Then, he must drink from his own cistern, i.e. practice what he will say before conveying the fountains abroad, i.e. sharing his teachings to others. To convey the fountains abroad is to perform the external act of instilling in others the force of his preaching. But, beware, because pride easily enters through this act of spreading the Word.

In the ministry of the Word, never allow pride to be your partner; never preach to win the praises of men.

St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral Care, Chapter 24, Part III

 

 


 

(12-19-02)

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