The servant(Priest/Bishop etc...) of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.(2 Timothy 2:24)
Today in almost all family there is chance of someone who have gone away from Jacobite church and joined born again prayer groups. The reason we have to examine.
Both Jacobites and they pray to same God Jesus Christ, yet why they have left us, the reason is some people want more care and attention from priest, this personal attention they feel they get from prayer groups.Further if there is a communication gap between priest and believer, some believer to quench his spiritual thirst wants a pastor to continuously advise him. In Jacobite church he/she does not get personal care. Most of the people who left say they do not get personal care to spiritually quench their thirst from Jacobite church, so they left.
The 'graces of spirit' do not come always by chance and if we do not instill these qualities and choose them, in our thoughts, they never become fastened in our behaviour and character.
'Gentleness of spirit' comes from deep suffering,like crucification before coronation,the breaking of self/ego is required to carry the cross and follow Christ.The gentleness of spirit out of Christ's school of suffering matures spiritual graces in a priest/bishop.
We Jacobites can provide them the personal care to quench their spiritual thirst through priest/bishops who have 'graces of spirit' or 'gentleness of spirit'.
We have to teach in seminary the need to achieve the 'graces of holy spirit' for the success of a priest,for this even if he is taught in seminary,Christ should also teach him personally in his school of adversity in suffering like he taught St Gregorios of Parumala, St.Sleebo Mor Osthathios, HH.Patriarch Zakka in school of sufferings. But by proper seminary education a lot of improvement can be done to make parish feel that their priest care for them. The students in seminary should be trained in basics of management, administraton, psychology and gentleness.
For example, Take a simple case study :If a Jacobite writes a letter to a Jacobite priest/bishop asking for prayer request,the chances of getting reply is very rare. He writes a letter to a pastor of born again group,he gets a definte reply within 24 hrs followed by a personal visit by pastor. He compares both and feels the Jacobite priest is not caring for him. His immediate spiritual need is fulfilled in a better way by pastor as there is no reply from priest.
So our priest and bishops should develop more and more the 'graces of spirit' and should communicate well to the needy, should reply every letter they get without ignoring.Further if somebody approach should not make things complex and bureacratic but give him a simple solution. St.Athanasious Paulose of Aluva replied to every letter he got, yes, no or something without looking who is the sender,whether he is poor/rich.Such small manners create great result. More over a committed priest/bishop will reply however busy he is. Some reply if it is a matter of donation only. Today very few reply to letters.Many priest and bishop feel that if they reply it will belittle their position. No wonder St Athanasious of Aluva was also a wondeful adminstrator with 'graces of spirit'.
Jesus Christ himself replied instantly to letter of leporer King Abgarus,he did not ignore him though he was not a Jew,so our bishops/priest should develop more 'graces of holy spirit' by prayer resolution and from Christ's school of suffering.They should learn to address the needs of believers including reply to letters .Priest should stand neutral and try to solve the problems and spend more time in prayer.It is the duty of priest to reply a letter.
In a church ,the Vicar if he is matured person almost 95% of problems can be solved in grassroot level by priest himself including divisions within.
The only way to tackle this issue of belivers joining born again groups is to develop 'gentless of holy spirit' in priest and bishops and believers as mentoned in Bible which will quench the spiritual thirst of all believers.
There are certain things we can do to prevent people from going due to lack of personal pastoral care,what is possible we should implement.
For that our priest and bishops should be willing to change their attitude and approach to believers.
Excommunicating a member for going to prayer group is not a permanent solution especially when the church has not excommunicated the bishops who violated the 'Shalmootho' and joined the rebel faction.
Ofcourse everybody cannot have 'graces of spirit' but even 1 or 2 priest with such qualities can make big difference.
Bibu Philip Matthew