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ON QUALIFICATION OF A  SHEPHERD

Clergy should have proper training, knowledge, and authority to lead and guide God's own people lest he should be called "a thief who came to steal, kill and destroy"[1]. Those who come to position and authority of God's own people for the sake of their great honor and of vanity are like princes who have ruled but not from God[2]. Those teachers would be a great example of contradicting messages themselves where they couldn't practice what has been already revealed in the bible.

A shepherd should be a person who keeps the knowledge of God since the laity always seeks the law from his mouth.  The inexperienced and of light knowledgeable pastor is like a blind person who would take the very people he should care and guide into pits. A true shepherd does not, like the thief or robber, climb to pastorhood and authority without being called, taught and sent to take care of God’s own flock by the Church which God has established. Those who have been called, though need to be truly humble, need not resist assuming spiritual position when called by the church. Otherwise, they will “forfeit the majority of their gift not only for themselves but also for others”.

            As the Lord said to Moses[3] a minister should not offer a bread nor may he approach His alter  if he is blind [ignorant of the light/knowledge of heavenly already revealed],  or lame [see the way he ought to go but through the infirmity of his intention i.e.bad habits, he couldn't rise to the state of virtue and be an example], or has crooked nose [the one who is incapable of spiritual discernment between Godly and pure worldly], no man with a crippled foot or hand [ the one who entirely unable  to walk in the path of God and completely lacks good deeds ] , or a man with a blemish in his eyes [a person who has knowledge of truths but whose carnal deeds obscure the truth] or an itching disease -Eczema - continuous rush [ is a person who constantly dominated by the depravity of the flesh which corrupts the souls through all of the vices]. Anyone with those above stated not of the physical infirmity but of spiritually shall not come to be a shepherd as “he is still consumed by his own sins, he would be unable to cleanse the sins of others”. This is the main reason God said through his prophet, “Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the Lord”[4]. It is important that the hand that cleans must be cleansed, otherwise, it will soil everything that it touches because it is itself dirty.

Mirroring the incomparable good Shepherd who is willing to bend down and wash the feet of his disciples; a pastor, above all, should have a life of only servanthood as a base for his ministry to draw their laity easily more to heavenly things through the merit of their life. He should be the first in service of the church and helping the needy neighbor as "his voice more easily penetrates his listeners when his life commands what he says".

Along with the life of service,  humility should be the biggest prerequisite in bringing a person to be a shepherd since "no one is able to acquire humility while in a position of authority if he did not refrain pride when in a position of subjection". In short, a pastor should be obedient to those who are his superior; “be humble, tender in kindness and be quick to forgive through compassion; and strict in the severity of judgment with the congregation that he leads”.

St Ignatius on his letter to Polycarp writes saying a good shepherd should be like a pastor who “focus on unity..bear with all people with love, even as the Lord bears [them], ..devote thyself to unceasing prayer, asking for greater understanding, ..speak to the people individually ...bears the disease of all”. The Didache also teaches the church to appoint servants “worthy of the Lord, men who are humble and not avaricious…. and ... .true and approved, for they carry out for you the ministry of the prophets and teachers”.

 

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