|picture credit: blacksoil.wordpress.com|
If I were a bishop or even a priest, I might want to use the Office of Readings for every saint's memorial that occurs between September 16th and 28th. It would mean avoiding nine out of twelve days of reading "99 Ways a Bishop is Likely to End up in Hell.", otherwise known as St. Augustine's sermon on Pastors.
As a layperson reading this, I have come to a few conclusions:
1. I'm really glad I'm not a bishop.
2. I can't imagine anyone wanting such a responsibility.
3. Since Augustine's warnings apply, to a lesser degree, to priests as well, it reminds us what an awesome (as in awe-full, or awful) responsibility they have as well, and how we laity have a very serious responsibility to pray for them as well as our bishops. A lot.
4. I'll bet this yearly dose of Augustine on Pastors, thought not pleasant, does good bishops and priests a lot of good. A yearly reminder to pray hard, work hard, be humble, and daily throw themselves on Christ's mercy.
5. Don't even want to think about not so good bishops and priests who read this and ignore it, or pat themselves on the back imagining that they are in no danger of the faults Augustine describes.
6. Even back in the early centuries, the clergy and hierarchy must have been an extremely mixed bag if this is what St.Augustine felt he had to tell them.
7.St. Augustine gave really long sermons.
this post originally appeared in 2012