I've been reading a version of Lives of the Saints of Alban Butler, and I've encountered many biographies where the author mentions that the Saint was afraid of being put in a certain position. I've found this similar example online:

Saint Goar was born of an illustrious family, at Aquitaine. From his youth he was noted for his earnest piety, and, having been raised to sacred orders, he converted many sinners by the fervor of his preaching and the force of his example. Wishing to serve God entirely unknown to the world, he went over into Germany, and, settling in the neighborhood of Trier, he shut himself up in his cell, and arrived at such an eminent degree of sanctity as to be esteemed the oracle and miracle of the whole country. Sigebert, King of Austrasia, learning of the sanctity of Goar, wished to have him made Bishop of Metz, and for that purpose summoned him to court. The Saint, fearing the responsibilities of the office, prayed that he might be excused. He was seized with a fever, and died in 575.

Pictorial Lives of the Saints – Saint Goar, Priest

I don't quite understand why this is so common and frequently mentioned.

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    It seems reasonable to try to avoid responsibilities for which one doesn't have the necessary talents. And a saint is likely to have a lower opinion of his own talents than most people. Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


St. Thomas Aquinas discussed "Whether it is lawful to desire the office of a bishop?" (Summa Theologica II-II q. 185 a. 1 co.):

to desire to do good to one's neighbor is in itself praiseworthy, and virtuous. Nevertheless, […] unless there be manifest and urgent reason for it, it would be presumptuous for any man to desire to be set over others in order to do them good. […] Nevertheless, anyone may, without presumption, desire to do such like works if he should happen to be in that office, or to be worthy of doing them

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