Benedictine saints & blesseds: September 2009 Archives
Gregory was a mirror for monks, a father to the City, beloved of all the world.
O God, Who did bestow upon the soul of Thy servant Gregory the rewards of eternal happiness, mercifully grant that we who are oppressed by the weight of our sins, may be relieved through his intercession.
"Son of man, I have set you as a watchman over the house of Israel." The Lord here calls the preacher a watchman. A watchman stands on a height so that he can see what is coming. So, too, those who set as guardians over people ought to stand on a height by their manner of life so that their watchful care may benefit others.
It is hard for me to say these words. They wound me, for my speech is not worthy of my role as preacher, and my life does not measure up to what I preach. I do not deny my guilt; I see my sloth and negligence. Perhaps a loving Judge will be moved to pardon me because I admit my fault.
When I lived in the monastery, I could avoid idle talk and keep my mind almost continuously fixed on prayer. But once I accepted the pastoral burden, many things required and divided my attention, so that my former recollection became impossible. I am forced now to discuss the affairs of churches and monasteries and even quite often, the lives and actions of individuals. I must deal with civic business, barbarian invasions, and the wolves that prey on the flock committed to my care.
When the mind is so divided and harried, how can it return to itself and recollect itself for preaching? How is it to avoid withdrawing from that ministry?
Who am I, then? What kind of watchman am I, when I myself do not stand on the heights for preaching but lie low in the valley of weakness? Still, the omnipotent Creator and Redeemer of humankind can give me, unworthy though I am, lofty inspirations and an effective tongue; for it is out of love of Christ that I do not spare myself in speaking about him.
(from the Homilies on Ezekiel by Pope Saint Gregory the Great)
And one more comment by Gregory us ...on sacred Scripture,
The Holy Bible is like a mirror before our mind's eye. In it we see our inner face. From the Scriptures we can learn our spiritual deformities and beauties. And there too we discover the progress we are making and how far we are from perfection. (Gregory the Great)