A Terrible Temptation

John Chrysostom commenting on I Timothy 3:1 – A Terrible Temptation
“The first of all qualities that a priest or bishop ought to posses is that he must purify his soul entirely of ambition for the office… The right course, I think, is to have so reverent an estimation of the office as to avoid its responsibilities from the start… But if anyone should cling to a position for which he is not fit, he deprives himself of all pardon and provokes God’s anger the more by providing a second and more serious offense… It is indeed a terrible temptation to covet this honor. And in saying this, I do not contradict St. Paul but entirely agree with what he says. What are his words? ‘If a man seeks the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.’ What is terrible is to desire the absolute authority and power of the bishop but not the work itself.”
(On the Priesthood, 3.10-11)

Jerome commenting on I Timothy 3:1 – Ambition for Those Taking Orders

“Should the entreaties of your brethren induce you to take orders, I shall rejoice that you are lifted up and fer lest you may be cast down. You will say, ‘if a mad desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.’ I know that; but you should add what follows: such a one ‘must be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, chaste, prudent, well-prepared, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker but patient.’… Woe to the man who goes in to the supper without a wedding garment.”
(Letters, 14.8)
Chrysostom commenting on I Timothy 1:2a – Do Not Desire an Office If Your Actions Disqualify You
Blameless: every virtue is implied in this word. If anyone is sconscious to himself of any sins, he does not well to desire an office for which his own actions have disqualified him… For why did no one say of the apostles that they were fornicators, unclean or covetous persons, but that they were deceivers, which relates to their preaching only? Must it not be that their lives were irreproachable? This is clear.
(Homilies on I Timothy 10
Theodore of Moppsuestia commenting on I Timothy 1:2a – Not Without Critics
” ‘WIthout reproach’ can scarcely mean ‘without critics,’ since Paul himself had such, but blameless as to living.”
(Commentary on I Timothy)
Gregory of Nyssa commenting on I Timothy 1:2a – The Analogy of the Metalsmith
“When making a vessel of iron, we entrust the task not to those who know nothing about the matter but to those who are acquainted with the art of the smith. Ought we not, therefore, to entrust souls to him who is well-skilled to soften them by the fervent heat of the Holy Spirit and who by the impress of rational implements may fashion each one of you to be a chosen and useful vessel? It is thus that the inspired apostle bids us to take thought, in his epistle to Timothy, laying injunction upon all who hear, when he says that a bishop must be without reproach. Is this all that the apostle cares for, that he who is advanced to the priesthood should be irreproachable? And what is so great an advantage as that all possible qualifications should be included in one? But he knows full well that the subject is molded by the character of his superior and that the upright walk of the guide becomes that of his followers too. For what the Master is, such does he make the disciples to be.”
(Letters 13)
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament, Vol. IX; Peter Gorday editor, 168-170.
UPDATE: Jim McGreevey, former governor of New Jersey and “American gay,” is to begin seminary this fall (at my seminary) and is in the discernment process through the Episcopal Diocese of New York, for Holy Orders. Why? Maybe in time, but now? He has too much to work through concerning the profound life changes he has gone through over the past two years (and coming to terms with his own failings). What is going on?