Friday, September 28, 2012

Love for Christ Manifest in Tender Care for the Flock

For the pastor of sheep has his flock following him, wherever he may lead them: and if any should stray out of the straight path, and, deserting the good pasture, feed in unproductive or rugged places, a loud shout suffices to collect them and bring back to the fold those who have been parted from it.  But if a human being wanders away from the right faith, great exertion, perseverance and patience are required; for he cannot be dragged back by force, nor constrained by fear, but must be led back by persuasion to the truth from which he originally swerved.  The pastor therefore ought to be of a noble spirit, so as not to despond, or to despair of the salvation of wanderers from the fold, but continually to reason with himself and say, “Perhaps God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.”* … Rightly therefore did the Lord say that zeal for the flock was a token of love for Himself.

John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, II.4

* 2 Timothy 2:25

No comments: