June 7, 2015
The Pastoral Relationship and Man’s Sacredness
A pastoral relationship is not simply a supportive relationship where the sufferer can find a life-jacket to help him during the difficult times of his life or to contribute in exorcising the devil or the ultimate enemy, which is death, by performing required religious rites. Neither is it a relationship through which life and death are beautified by way of a self-centered spirituality or various psychological techniques so as to alieve the concerns about death and to ease the pain of loss.
That which determines a pastoral relationship as being significant is that the priest renders and confirms the holiness of the sufferer – that man’s nature has a sacred entity to it which is made up and fulfilled “in Christ”; that he is a vessel of Divine Grace, a treasure that will not vanish, regardless of all the hardships, pressures, difficulties and deteriorations it may encounter.
This is especially so for the cancer patient who feels that his body is literally melting away during the course of his illness or the therapy associated with it. He feels that the dignity and authenticity of his human existence is being threatened. Thus, the priest’ s confirmation that man, in light of these difficulties, as an image of God remains significant for the sufferer and those around him.
An excerpt from the presentation that Fr. Stavros Kofinas will present at the Conference on “The End of Life in Cancer: The shiver of borders” that will take place at the Theological School of Chalki, June 18-21, 2015.