The tragedy of being a priest without Divine Grace
by Nikita Kafkiou
SAINT PORPHYRIOS A PRIEST’S PRIEST
Mr. Kafkiou tells us: “The personal relationship of man with God is not a given, nor is it guaranteed to be stable, progressive or constant. A priest may start off in life with spiritual enthusiasm for his priestly calling. But after a few years, it is possible for him to feel completely removed from the Grace of God. Human weaknesses, the difficulties of married life, the uncertainties of daily life are able to knuckle under the most dedicated faithful priest. The only possible way for a priest to live a spiritual life is for him to accept his unworthiness and to submit his feelings to the love of Jesus Christ. If a priest cannot bring himself to bring before Jesus his pain and defeat, he will end up being completely lost. For a priest to find spiritual maturity he must realize that this journey is a one way street. If a priest does not progress spiritually he will be ripped to shreds. If the priest falls away from God because of his spiritual failures, he will become worldly. Instead of a liturgist he will end up being simply an actor.
A priest who is burdened by the darkness of his spiritual downfall no longer has the disposition or the burning desire to deal with liturgical details of Church life. In many of our Orthodox Churches on Sunday mornings and feast days the gathering of the faithful feels like they are attending a theatrical performance. During the celebration of Church services the faithful do not feel a sense of peace. Instead of charging up their spiritual batteries they experience psychosomatic turmoil. His emotional life is tortured and his spiritual being is scandalized.