For the Third Wednesday in Advent: Gregory the Great on pastoral care
From Faith and Life, here is another excerpt from the writings of Gregory the Great, this one being on pastoral care:
Good Pastors ought to desire in such sort to please men, as that they may make the affection felt for them a kind of path along which they may lead their hearers’ hearts to love the Creator. This is well expressed by Paul, “Even as I please all men in all things;” yet, again, he says, “If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” So, Paul pleases men, and does not please them; because, in the very fact of his pleasing them, he desires, not that he himself should please them, but that the truth should please them by his means.
–St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care, ii. 8
One thing for certain: shepherds must seek to serve Christ above pleasing parishioners. Those who seek to please parishioners first without “leading their hearers’ hearts to love the Creator” will find themselves neither serving Christ nor pleasing men.