Friday, September 16, 2011

On Pastors: The Necessity of Enduring Evil

That which separates great leaders from good leaders is that great leaders are willing to endure evil, or shall I say, opposition and contradictions from others. According to St. Augustine, it is not enough to just do good works. No. The man of God must also be willing to endure evil so that great things can be accomplished for God's sake. It is only when Christians- both clergy and laity -are willing to be ostracized, ridiculed, or derided for Christ's sake that we will begin to see things turn around in our culture and even in our Church.

The picture by Sir Anthony van Dyck to the right is a painting of St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, physically preventing the Roman Emperor Theodosius II from entering into the Cathedral. It just so happened that the Emperor had his army kill 6,000 Thessalonians in an uprising. After St. Ambrose heard about this unnecessary slaughter of so many people, the holy bishop had a dream he was forbidden by God to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass because the Theodosius was in attendance. St. Ambrose took this to mean that he had to call the Emperor to public penance. And that is precisely what he did. You may be surprised to know that Theodosius complied.

Divine Office Reading: September 18th, 2011:
On Pastors: By St. Augustine

"There are men who want to live a good life and have already decided to do so, but are not capable of bearing sufferings even though they are ready to do good.

Now it is a part of the Christian’s strength not only to do good works but also to endure evil.

Weak men are those who appear to be zealous in doing good works but are unwilling or unable to endure the sufferings that threaten.

Lovers of the world, however, who are kept from good works by some evil desire, lie sick and listless, and it is this sickness that deprives them of any strength to accomplish good works..."

Augustine then gave the following admonition to Pastors: "Reveal therefore what is hidden, and thus you will open the roof and lower the paralytic to the feet of Christ. As for those who fail to do this and those who are negligent, you have heard what was said to them: You have failed to heal the sick; you have failed to bind up what was broken."