A Reflection on Being Pastor

The picture is entitled “The Damned.”   A Pastor’s efforts are almost all geared towards saving people from becoming “The Damned,” saving people from eternal damnation, and seeing that they arrive at the pearly gates with a warm welcome into paradise.

We strive to get to know Jesus Christ in a full life of prayer, and to work with others to do so as well.

We tend to the Sacramental life of the Church: We teach, we preach, we hear Confessions; we celebrate Masses, Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms, Confirmations. We meet with people for spiritual direction, we meet with endless committees and councils. We exhort to holiness of life and try our best to live up to it ourselves.

Don’t aim for purgatory – aim for Heaven itself. And by all means, avoid eternal damnation at all costs!

In that vein, here is a great reflection from Fr Eddie Gros SJ the pastor at Holy Name of Jesus in New Orleans.  I’ll be praying for him; I certainly know what he’s going through. I have learned though, that there’s only so much you can do on any given day. We can’t “do it all.”

A Reflection on Being a Pastor

“PLEASE PRAY FOR ME

“Being a PASTOR has become almost like playing one of those video games set at an impossibly high level. And although fulfillment in ministry is always what keeps me going—I love the sacraments and I love being a part of people’s spiritual journeys—the expectations with regard to my management and conciliatory skills are about to push me over the edge.

“First of all, I didn’t write the Sermon on the Mount or proclaim the Reign of God. It is a very challenging and demanding message… Yet people, especially in the US, get angry when I do not dilute or mute the demands Jesus makes. I have the option to either commit the sin of distorting Jesus’ message to appease people’s political preferences, or be condemned with being either LIBERAL or CONSERVATIVE. To divide the Gospel message into one of these two categories—otherwise known as binary thinking—constitutes a great pressure and a constant temptation to commit serious material mortal sin by being untruthful to who I am.

“Secondly, the demands of administration and the skills the faithful expect of me are impossible for Jesus to meet, even on a good day.

(1) To preach in a dynamic, captivating, and original way, BUT KEEP IT BRIEF
(2) To be a perfect example of patience and emotional equilibrium
(3) to know how to counsel in any situation
(4) To resolve problems whereby I am perceived as both “tough and demanding” as well as “compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and conciliatory”
(5) To bring groups together whose inner dynamics and purposes are frequently at odds with one another
(6) To be a friend, teacher, mentor, expert in dealing with children. a reconciler, expert with adolescents, marriage counselor, leadership promoter, advocate in interpersonal conflicts, long-range planner, challenger and consoler, tough and gentle, strong enough to fire people from their jobs yet patient enough to allow them to grow and develop, biblical scholar, able to praise and able to criticize, generally available round the clock, considered lazy when asking for one day off a week,
(7) A BUSINESS MAN WHO CONDUCTS CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS LIKE BUSINESSES WHILE ALL THE WHILE USING MONEY, MATERIAL GOODS, AND CHURCH ASSETS ACCORDING TO GOSPEL VALUES

“AGAIN, I DOUBT WHETHER JESUS ON A GOOD DAY CAN FULFILL ALL OF THIS

“Reflections by Fr. Eddie Gros, S.J.”

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