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The Government of Souls

Above all let him not neglect or undervalue the welfare of the souls committed to him, in a greater concern for fleeting, earthly, perishable things; but let him always bear in mind that he has undertaken the government of souls and that he will have to give an account of them.

And if he be tempted to allege a lack of earthly means, let him remember what is written: “First seek the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be given you besides.” And again: “Nothing is wanting to those who fear Him.”

Let him know, then, that he who has undertaken the government of souls must prepare himself to render an account of them. Whatever number of brethren he knows he has under his care, he may be sure beyond doubt that on Judgment Day he will have to give the Lord an account of all these souls, as well as of his own soul.

Thus the constant apprehension about his coming examination as shepherd concerning the sheep entrusted to him, and his anxiety over the account that must be given for others, make him careful for his own record. And while by his admonitions he is helping others to amend, he himself is cleansed of his faults.

– Chapter 2 “What Kind of Man the Abbot Ought to Be” Part 7

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