The Lord calls upon bishops to lead their flocks
and bestows upon them the grace of the Holy Spirit. In the Holy Spirit they
have the authority to release sin or not. They are the heirs of the Apostles,
and they lead us to Christ by the grace bestowed upon them. They teach us
repentance; they teach us to keep the commandments of the Lord. They enlighten
us with the word of God, so that we might experience the Lord. They show us the
path of salvation and help us rise to the peak of the humble spirit of Christ.
They collect the sorrowing and the lost sheep of Christ in the churchyard in
order that their souls might achieve peace in God.
They pray to God on our behalf, so that we might
be saved. They, as the friends of Christ, can entreat the Lord, so that the
living will be given humility and the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the dead —
forgiveness for their sins, and the Church — peace and freedom. They engage in
great labors and deeds, and for this they receive the wealth of knowledge of
the Saints, whose lives they emulate. They stand above all; like eagles, they
soar high and from there they see boundless space, and with the wisdom of
theology they lead the herd of Christ.
The priest, servant at the altar of Christ, is a
great figure. Whoever insults him insults the Holy Spirit abiding in him. One
humble and meek man was strolling with his wife and three children. He met an
archpriest in a carriage, and when the peasant bowed to him in reverentially,
he saw the archpriest blessing him enveloped in flames of grace.
If people could see the true glory in which a
priest serves, they would faint from the sight; and if a priest could himself
see the heavenly glory he stands in while conducting the service, he would
become a great ascetic, in order not to allow any insult to the grace of the
Holy Spirit residing within him.
I write these lines and my soul is joyous that our
pastors are like the Lord Jesus Christ; but even we sheep, despite our small
grace, are also like the Lord. People do not know this mystery, but John the
Theologian clearly said, "Let us be like Him," and not only in death,
but even now, for the Merciful Lord has sent the Holy Spirit to earth, and the
Holy Spirit lives in our Church. He lives in pure pastors; He lives in the
hearts of believers; He teaches the soul spiritual feats. He gives strength to
fulfil the Lord’s commandments and puts us on the path to righteousness.
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