To the Priest, Priestess, Minister, Reverend, High Holy Roller-ness, and/or everyone else who bears a title denoting religious leadership: Congratulations.
All the efforts you’ve made, your turn at the seminary, your months of apprenticeship, the time at the workshop, or the $30 you spent online, have paid off and you are now an ambassador, instrument, and representative of your Faith. No doubt you’re proud, (as you should be!), for it is a noble title. It is a beautiful title. It is an important title.
It is an absolutely meaningless title until you make it mean something.
That title you bought or earned is not a badge. It’s not a flag to wave or the password to some secret club. It is a Promise. It is an Honor. It is a Burden. A Way of Life.
You made a Promise to serve. To listen when others need to speak, to speak where others need to listen, and to provide what you can, how you can, where you can on behalf of your Faith. If you cannot provide, you can guide. If you cannot guide, you cannot fulfill your promise. Whether it be to God, Goddess, or the All There Is, you made a Promise to serve in Their name.
If you cannot fulfill your promise with Love, don’t do it.
You have the Honor to lead. You were trusted with information that can enhance people’s lives, give strength to the weak, give direction to the lost, and love to the lonely. You have the privilege to know where to find the information if you do not have it. If you do not seek or share this knowledge, you do not have Honor. Whether it be to God, Goddess, or the All There Is, you have the Honor to lead in Their name.
Yes, it is a Burden. You carry the weight of expectations on your very mortal shoulders and sometimes it is incredibly heavy. You’re expected to live by higher standards. You’re expected to hold yourself with a dignity and grace that those without the title are not obligated. You are expected to lead where others don’t want to go. You’re expected to have the answers, do the duties, and champion the battles no matter how tired you are. You’re expected to extend a hand when you’re in pain. You’re expected to run when your feet are sore. And whether it be to God, Goddess, or the All There Is, you are even expected to love with a broken heart.
And if you cannot Love at all, well then…
When you took the title and made the promise to serve, to honor, and to bear, you proclaimed, “My life is not just about me, anymore,” and you accepted a new way of life. It does not make you better than, less than, holier than, untouchable, or more vulnerable, but it does make you a source of expertise and therefore presents different types of challenges and standards of living. You deserve respect, but a leader is nothing without the trust of the followers. A healer is nothing if they, themselves, are ill. And a title is nothing if you don’t live up to it.
There’s a reason why it comes before your name. And the only reason why you should have that title to begin with is because you Love.