Friday, September 2, 2011

Gregory the Great, Gregory the Humble

On September 3rd, the Church in the West remembers one of the great successors of Peter. Gregory the Great (or Gregory the Dialogist) was the son of a saint, the evangelist of post-Roman Europe, patron of the arts, and would-be simple monk.

"At length being anxious to avoid all these inconveniences, I sought the haven of the monastery… For as the vessel that is negligently moored, is very often (when the storm waxes violent) tossed by the water out of its shelter on the safest shore, so under the cloak of the Ecclesiastical office, I found myself plunged on a sudden in a sea of secular matters, and because I had not held fast the tranquillity of the monastery when in possession, I learnt by losing it, how closely it should have been held." ~Moralia

Gregory always sounds a little wistful--he would, at the natural level, much rather have stayed in his cell (the days are many when I can completely relate). But he took on his vocation to the papacy with great strength and grace (may I do the same).

I have a soft spot for Gregory: I wrote my 40-page thesis at Oxford on his understanding of the vocation to marriage. The pages are lost (these were the days before Gmail, after all), but I still love him. He spoke words that brought me home to Todd and marriage.

So, sweet Gregory, pray for us. Pray for your little sisters and brothers still here on this side of death. Be with us in our own turmoils, and ask the good Lord whom you served to grant us His Mercy.

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