May 14, 2016

Article at Authory

Advice for New Priests and Deacons

It's ordination season, so please allow me to offer a bit of unsolicited advice to all the new ordinands. If some of you who have been ordained for a while want to listen in, that would be great.

As you fly forth from the seminary into ordained ministry, there is something you should remind yourself of on a daily basis. If you must, write the following sentence down on a small card and tuck it into a breast pocket, to be pulled out and repeated as necessary:

I AM NO LONGER A LAYPERSON.

What this means, dear fathers and servants in Christ (yes, I'm including you, deacons) is that by submitting yourself for ordination you are now specially set apart for Christ and must act like you are in all aspects of your life. In doing so, you must give up some of the perks of the laity, which includes any form of social media commentary that can be construed as attacking other persons—no matter how public those persons may be.

By your ordination, you are supposed to be a father and/or servant to all. You should be considered a safe port in a storm to any person in need, no matter how well or how poorly that person lives his or her life. When you do things that are unbecoming of your vocation, such as rhetorically attacking laypeople in various public venues (no matter how deserving they may seem to be of your rebuke), you may end up making it harder for those people to come to Christ—and you may end up leading others into following your problematic example.

In short, you are ordained. As a free person, you have the right to make your opinion known, but as someone who is ordained you have an even higher responsibility than most people to temper your opinions with kindness and prudence. If you find it difficult to do so, then you might want to consider refraining from social media commentary altogether.

Congratulations on your ordination! Now, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

(Image: Deacons, prostrate; Pixabay.)