PRIESTS CLOTHED WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS
by Fr. John E. Taylor (RIP)
Anything I say on behalf of Clergy may seem self-serving, since I am myself a Priest – it’s not meant to be – but here are a few reminders for Lay people regarding treatment of their pastors.
There’s a television blurb that goes, “Have you hugged your child today?” Well, you may or may not embrace your Priest, depending on whether he/she appears to appreciate the gesture, so I will ask instead: “Did you PRAY for your Priest today? – or last month – or ever?” No one resents prayer on their behalf.
We expect our Bishops, Priests and Deacons to be moral leaders, informed preachers and explainers of God’s Word, efficient rather than fumbling administrators of the Sacraments. We would like them to be wise counsellors for the perplexed, comforters for those in bereavement or other distress, role models for our young persons. How, in the Name of God, can Clergy successfully fill any of these roles without the grace of God which comes in answer to prayer – their own prayers, and those of their people, that is, yourselves?
Please don’t expect all of us Clergy persons to be cut from the same bolt of cloth, attractive or otherwise. Some of us are fat, some thin, and some in-between; some of us have more of a sense of humour than others; some are outgoing, others are shy, some preach long sermons, others don’t; some are musical, others not; some are into sports and athletics, others aren’t. (Now that we have women priests, multiply all these possibilities by two!) So when the new Rector arrives – and we have had several new Clergy ministries lately in our diocese – don’t expect a carbon copy of the Rector you’ve just lost. You won’t get it, which is just as well.
Accept the Rector’s or Curate’s family as any other parish family. Since the Rectors are far from perfect, don’t expect perfection from their families either. Like ourselves, those families are still in the process of becoming saints. God is not finished with them yet, either.
USE your Priest. If she/he hasn’t been to visit after some time as Rector, don’t backbite him/ her – issue an invitation. It needn’t be for a posh dinner – a glass of iced tea with cookies, or no food at all. You don’t have to be sick for your Priest to visit. OFFER your help in the new project; don’t sulk because “The Rector didn’t ask me.” It’s GOD’S work, not the Rector’s. Be sure to notify the Rector whenever you, or some other parishioner, are seriously ill.
I close as I began: Pray for your Rector – and Curates – and Bishops who have the care of all the Churches. Jesus prayed for His Apostles, who would be His Church’s first Bishops. Let us follow the divine example.