Saint John of Kronstadt (1829-1908)

“My sweetest Saviour! Having come down from heaven for the service of mankind, Thou didst not only preach the Word of heavenly truth in the temple, but Thou wentest through the towns and villages; Thou didst not shun anyone; Thou visitedst the houses of all, especially of those whose fervent repentance Thou didst foresee with Thy divine gaze. Thus Thou didst not remain sitting at home, but wert in loving intercourse with all. Grant to us, Thy priests, to be also in such loving intercourse with Thy people, so that we pastors should not shut ourselves up in our houses away from Thy sheep as if in castles or prisons, only coming out of them for services in the church or to officiate in the houses of others, only out of duty, only with prayers learned by heart. May our lips be freely open to discourse with our parishioners in the spirit of faith and love. May our Christian love for our spiritual children be opened and strengthened by animated, free and fatherly conversation with them. O what sweetness, what bliss Thou hast concealed, O Lord, our boundless Love, in the spiritual converse warmed by love of a spiritual father with his spiritual children! And how is it possible not to strive upon earth with all our might after such bliss? Yet it is only a faint beginning, only a faint likeness of the heavenly bliss of love!”

– St. John of Kronstadt