Bishop of the Home
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 2:10 PM [+]
Go and read Bishop JONAH's Acceptance Address HERE. (scroll down a little ways)
It is very good and I was really moved as he discussed the vocation of a Bishop, not only because of my love for Christ's Church, but also because I believe the Holy Spirit was pressing upon me the reality that the Bishop's role in the Church is in many ways comparable to the role of a Father at home. As we are often told, a family is like an icon of the Church and indeed the home IS a Home-church. In that sense, Bp JONAH's address is profoundly convicting to me.
Imagine, for a moment, changing Bp. JONAH's words. I will preface this by adding that by no means do I wish to say this analogy is perfect and neither would I dare to suggest that the episcopal vocation is not deeply and particularly unique - different than earthly fatherhood in numerous ways, not the least of which in demands of spiritual maturity and such. None-the-less, knowing Bp. JONAH I expect he would agree and bless my revisions here to the extent that it may be generally applied to the sacred vocation of earthly fatherhood:
It [fatherhood] demands true holiness, nothing other than synergy with the Divine Will—the very definition of obedience.
To fulfill what it means to be a bishop [father] means nothing other than to “attain to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” How far I am from this! And yet, it is the Holy Spirit who fulfills what is lacking, and heals that which is infirm.
The episcopacy [Fatherhood] presents the ultimate ascetic and spiritual challenge: the challenge of complete conversion to Christ, the transformation of mind and heart by repentance, in order that I may say with St Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live in the Son of God” (Gal 2:20). To die to self, to empty oneself, to humble oneself even unto death—this is the calling of the bishop [father]... Though there are many tasks and jobs associated with the episcopacy [fatherhood], administrative, pastoral and liturgical, it is not so much about the “job” as it is about the person; and that person is not me, but rather, Christ.
To what degree do my children and my wife see Christ in me? Like Bp. JONAH, I pray that the Holy Spirit fulfills what is lacking and heals that which is infirm as I strive to be a better father. May I approach my vocation as soberly as Bp. JONAH has clearly approached his.
I remember when Abbot Gerasim (of St. Herman's Monastery in Platina, CA) shared about the time he and Bishop Jonah (when they were both lay people) visited St. Herman's Monastery when Bl. Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) was there.
Many years to Bishop Jonah; and may our Dear Bl. Seraphim of Platina pray for him.