Benedict’s Rule: Becoming a Priest

The way we go about ordaining people has changed over the centuries.  But one thing has not changed—the need to carefully discern and choose those who are to become priests.

Chapter 62 of the Rule outlines this process.  It centers in the person’s understanding and willingness to enter into the priesthood with deepest humility and to devote himself to the faith of the Gospel and the life of the community with even more devotion and obedience.

Apparently, there has always been a tendency to view the priesthood as a “special” place, but the fact is, it is a “serving” place.  To fail to see this is to repeat the very sin which caused Israel to become an unfruitful vine.  They thought that being chosen meant they were special.  God intended for them to realize that they were servants.

Whether it was in an early-monastic community or in the latest expression of Christian ministry today, a consistent understanding of ordained ministry remains:  we are called to be servants.  Anything other than this was (is) grounds for dismissal.  To become a priest (pastor) is to assume the spirit of Jesus, who said, “I came not to be served, but to serve.”

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Benedict’s Rule: Becoming a Priest

  1. Cindy Schutz says:

    i think you meant “i came not to be served…but to serve…” 🙂
    this is a constant battle in our society/culture as it is ‘backwards’ thinking – just as it was in Jesus’ time. I just finished reading Nouwen’s Out of Solitude and he talks about getting our significance from God, not from those around us…he also talks about the freedom we have then to attend to other’s needs – really powerful concept

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