Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wise Words

Here are some wise words from Gregory the Great (540-604) on the perils of pastoral pride. First, a warning against the intoxication of authority:

Therefore, those who preside over others should consider not their rank, but the equality of their condition. Moreover, they should revel not in ruling over others but in helping them. For indeed, our ancient fathers are not remembered because they were rulers of men, but because they were shepherds of flocks.

Next, a plea not to lose the truth because you love applause:

And [it happens that] while he is encircled with immense favor, internally he loses his sense of truth. Forgetful of who he is, he scatters himself among the voices of others and believes what he hears them say about him rather than what he should discern about himself from within.

And one final warning on the dangers of a haughty spirit from the life of Saul, Israel’s first king:

[Saul] had previously seen himself to be of little consequence, but after he received temporal authority, he began to think of himself as greater than everyone else. In a wonderful way, when he was small to himself, he was great to the Lord; but when he thought of himself as great, he became small to the Lord. (The Book of Pastoral Rule)

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