Spiritual Leadership, Part III: Family

The priest’s wife merits special consideration because she has a primary responsibility of preserving the peace and harmony of the priest’s home while facing a barrage of spoken and unspoken expectations. How often does she hear the complaints about the man she loves, or bears the criticisms for the thankless job she performed when no one else would. She desires her husband’s presence, not to mention emotional intimacy, but must often set these desires aside while she discerns whether her sullen batushka is angry at her or simply weighed down with the sins of his ministry.  The best spiritual leadership in these circumstances is his regular scheduling (at least monthly) of a babysitter and a quiet evening with his beloved. At least one evening each week spent in quiet conversation, with some tea and perhaps some chocolate, with our wives provides a bountiful harvest.

Further, I know more than a few clergy marriages that have been greatly improved by the priest exercising a spiritual leadership of silence with regard to the discussion of parish conflicts with his wife. Spiritual leadership in this case means not adding burdens to someone who already bears many. Rather, let your brother clergy be the ones to help you bear the burden, to hear of your parish difficulties and to provide counsel when you need it.

With due consideration given to these issues, the priest is then able to extend his spiritual influence, and to increase the love and desire for Christ and his Church, within his own house rather than sowing the seeds of resentment and what might be called “spiritual exhaustion” there.

Next time: The Parish.

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1 comment on this post.
  1. Lucas Christensen:

    Fr.,

    Thank you for these; looking forward to the next installment.

    -Lucas