For the Third Sunday in Advent: Augustine of Hippo on ordained ministry
The theme for the third week of Advent in Faith and Life is Holy Orders, and consequently here is a thought from Augustine of Hippo on both the difficulty and the blessedness of being a member of the clergy.
I ASK that above all things your religious prudence will consider, that there is nothing in this life, and especially at this time, easier and pleasanter, and more acceptable to men, than the office of a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, if the duty be discharged in a perfunctory or men-pleasing fashion: but that there is nothing more wretched, more dismal, more worthy of condemnation in the sight of God. Also, that there is nothing in this life, and especially at this time, more difficult, more laborious, more dangerous, than the office of a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon; but nothing more blessed in the sight of God, if only we serve in such manner as our Commander gives us the word.
–St. Augustine, Epistle xxi.
Certainly if we have faithful shepherds, we should tell them how much we appreciate their labors and their intercessions on our behalf and on behalf of the Kingdom.