‘My grace is sufficient’ to heal

In the midst of difficulties and encountering many challenges, St. Paul asked God to put an end to his miseries and let him depart in peace. The Lord’s reply was: “My Grace is sufficient for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” from 2 Corinthians 12:9.

The grace divine heals that which is infirm and completes all insufficiencies.

Clergy and laity can experience such an ordeal. A sensitive person can get tired of himself and his place. He or she can realize his/her vulnerabilities and weaknesses, knowing that he/she is made of dust and ashes. God does indeed designate a certain man to be his priest and to serve him. Despite the weaknesses, temptations and challenges he faces caused by his own sinfulness, his parishioners’ and even his bishop’s, the priest must endure all things. Indeed throughout his ministry the priest encounters many challenges and the divine message continues to be the same: “My Grace is sufficient”!

In the make-up of any church community, there is always a mixture of those who are committed, positive and God-like, and those who are insensitive, critical, negative and judgmental. The Lord has designated the nature and the scope of the priestly vocation so that the priest can deal with all, in hope that things can improve. The priest endures in anticipation, affirming the actions and operation of the Lord in our lives. This means that the priest does not give up; nor does he surrender or compromise with the principles of his vocation.

The priestly vocation is born out of the womb of the Gospel of Christ. The priest understands that he is not serving angels. Some of his devoted parishioners may be angelic, but in the end, the priest has to deal with his spiritual children with love and compassion, using different pastoral approaches suited to the situation with individual spiritual children. His love for Christ is the gate that leads into his encounter with his flock.

At times, the priest might feel isolated and experience the heavy burden of his ministry. He knows that his first responsibility is to confess that the only worthy and meaningful comfort comes from above, from the father of lights. Inspired by the words of the Gospel and comforted by the grace divine, the priest offer his words. Parishioners can either choose to respond and live or reject and die

Regardless of the choice, the priest, under all circumstances, must be loving and patient, bearing all burdens. The priest is commissioned by the Lord to reflect and express the image and likeness of him who has chosen him. He is called to proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom, to minister the word of his truth, to offer spiritual gifts and sacrifices, to renew the people through the lever of regeneration, in the plentitude of God’s goodness and through his grace divine.

The Rev. Daniel Rohan is pastor of St. Mark Orthodox Church in Liberty.