I have sometimes thought that if I knew at the beginning of my ministry what I know now, I would have been much more effective. There were many things that seminaries don’t teach you; some of the things omitted were practical things like how to operate or fix office equipment, or the simple fact that the pastor is not going to fix people either. Sometimes the best you can do is to love them; but note, you have to love your God, yourself, your wife, and your kids, and your congregation, in that order; because if you invert the order you end up with a train wreck. One of the many things omitted is the following from the Rule of St. Benedict:
The Abbot, or any pastoral leader, or even any parent should give heed to St. Benedict’s advice, “He must show forethought and consideration in his orders, and whether the task he assigns concerns God or the world, he should be discerning and moderate, bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob, who said, “If I drive my flocks too hard, they will all die in a single day (Genesis 33:13). Therefore drawing on this and other examples of discretion, the mother of virtues, he must so arrange everything that the strong have something to yearn for and the weak nothing to run from” (RB Chapter 64:17-19).