Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pastoral Formation

From the biography of Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh:
He decided to talk over training for the priesthood with Father Georges Florovsky at the St Sergius Institute. He knew without doubt that his whole life had to be centered on God's work. Anything less would be a compromise, and that was a notion not only totally foreign to his nature but also, as he saw it, to Christianity. This unflinching dedication must have communicated itself to Father Georges, who tailored his reply accordingly.

"Go away and read the lives of the saints and the Fathers – and come back in fifteen years' time." To a fervent young man of only seventeen it was a devastating answer. He would have to wait almost his whole life over again before his vocation could even begin to be realized. When, in old age, he admitted to having once suffered a fifteen-year bout of depression it was not difficult to identify which years they were. This was to be the first of several knock-backs he was to receive on his journey to the priesthood. However, despite his pain he accepted Father Georges' judgment, and came to consider him someone for whom he could have the greatest respect as a person and as a theologian.
I can hardly think of a better piece of advice for anyone hoping to serve the Church in any capacity!

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