Posts Tagged ‘Gregory the Great’

“I know from experience that most of the time I am with the brethren I learn many things about the Word of God that I could not learn all by myself; it is you who impart to me what I should teach.”–Gregory

One of the great leaders in Europe at the close of the sixth century, Gregory served in both the secular and sacred arenas of his era. As mayor of Rome, he restored economic vitality to his native city, which had been weakened by enemy invasions, pillage, and plague. After he sold his extensive properties and donated the proceeds to help the poor, he entered into full-time service in the Church. On September 3,590 A.D., Gregory was elected to lead the church in Rome. As Bishop of Rome he oversaw changes and growth in the areas of church music and liturgical development, missionary outreach to northern Europe, and the establishment of a church-year calendar still used by many churches in the western World today. His book on pastoral care became a standard until the 20th century. (From The Lutheran Church-MIssouri Synod web-site, Commemoration Biographies)

Reflection: Gregory’s understanding of pastoral care was first that pastors take care of the Word, of doctrine.  He considered a knowledge of Scripture enables one, “to know the heart of God through the Word of God.”  Pr. Gregory knew that the heart of God showed him and us our own hearts.  We can become quite elated about our virtues and merits, and in the Pastoral Rule, he wrote:

Often this elation in virtue in a measure tempts the minds even of the elect, though it does not quite overcome them. In this case when the mind is lifted up, it is deserted, and deserted, it is recalled to fear. It is for this reason that David says again: “In my abundance I said: I shall never be moved ‘ ” But because in the assurance of his virtue he became conceited, he presently added what he had endured: “You turned away your face from me, and I became troubled” (Ps. 30: 7),  which is as if he were saying plainly: “I believed myself strong in my virtues, but when I was deserted, I came to realize how great my weakness was.”  Wherefore, he says again: “I have sworn and am determined to keep the judgments of your justice.”  But because it was beyond his power to continue to observe his oath, he at once, on being troubled, discovered his weakness. Therefore, he betook himself at once to the help of prayer, saying: “I have been humbled, 0 Lord, exceedingly. Quicken me according to your word” (Psa. 119: 107). 

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and merciful God, You raised up Gregory of Rome to be a pastor to those who shepherd God’s flock and inspired him to send missionaries to preach the Gospel to the English people. Preserve in Your Church the catholic and apostolic faith that Your people may continue to be fruitful in every good work and receive the crown of glory that never fades away; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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