Priests/Pastors After God’s Heart

As Jesus Was Dependent on the Father, the Priest is Dependent on the Son

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

John 5:19

Pastoral ministry is the overflow of the Life of God in us. We spend time with Christ, Christ reveals himself afresh to us, that illumination is brings insight, conviction, and transformation. The overflow of the Spirit’s illumination into Christ is Life and that Life encourages others to trust God and forsake sin (2 Cor. 4:7-12).

Life is walking with God in unending communion, enjoying his unlimited blessing, unconditional love,  and undeserved grace (John 10:10). Life is eternal, it is living in the realm where God lives. Life is salvation of the whole being including new birth, conversion, and sanctification. Ministry is can be lay or clerical if that ministry is grounded in Christ as its source of Life.

For the priest/pastor, ministry is not a profession, but the dynamic service of Life to others. A priest spends time with Christ, he receives from him the blessings, gifts, and anointing of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34). The priest then relies on the Holy Spirit in communicating and releasing the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the congregation. The priest is completely dependent on Jesus to bless him with the Holy Spirit for the encouragement of others. In the same manner that Jesus was dependent on the Father, the Priest is dependent on the Son (John 5:19, 15:4-5). Our pastoral ministry is effective in as much as it is dependent on Jesus.

In order to be pastors after God’s heart, we need to be profoundly rooted in a living friendship with Christ (not only of our minds, but also of our freedom and will), clearly aware of the identity we received at priestly ordination, and unconditionally ready to lead our flock where the Lord wills, not in the direction which seems most convenient and easy.

This requires, first and foremost, a continuous and progressive willingness to allow Christ Himself to govern the priestly lives of clergy. No-one, in fact, is truly capable of feeding the flock if they do not live in profound and authentic obedience to Christ and the Church; and the docility of the people towards their priests depends on the docility of priests towards Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI, “The Priest’s Mission as Guide” May 26, 2010.

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