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Archive for September 3rd, 2018

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, A.D. 590 , 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.  From Festivals and Commemorations by Pr. Pfatteicher:

Gregory’s use of monks as missionaries to the Anglo-Saxons was his single most influential act in determining the future of Christian culture and institutions. In 597 he sent Augustine of Canterbury and forty monks to evangelize Britain. The story told by Bede is that Gregory saw some fair-haired slaves in Rome and, being told that they were Angles, is said to have replied, “Not Angles but angels” and decided that they must be Christianized.

He also established 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. And having read most of St. Gregory’s reflections on Pastoral Care, it is too bad that it is no longer considered a “standard”.  One reads in it a humble man, a humble pastor, a humble Christian.  As St. Gregory preached on Ezekiel: “So who am I to be a watchman, for I do not stand on the mountain of action but lie down in the valley of weakness?” (Adapted from The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod web-site, Commemoration Biographies)

Reflection:  

The following quote is from St. Gregory’s Sermon for the 2nd  Sunday in Advent, text, St. Matthew 11: 2-10. He shows that in our ‘small ways’ we too can be like John the Baptizer with the Message for a friend. The only stat I cite regarding evangelism is that the majority of people who join a congregation do so because a family or friend invited them.  Historical reminder:  the Church spread by the Word of the Gospel going from mouth to ear for the first 2 centuries of the Church as the Church was illegal and persecuted. Here is eloquent testimony and encouragement to so invite a friend or family member, just as Philip said to Nathanael, “Come and see” (John 1:46)

You… who live in the Tabernacle of the Lord, that is, in the Holy Church, if you cannot fill up the goblets with the teachings of holy wisdom, as well then as you can, as far as the divine bounty has endowed you, give to your neighbors spoonfuls of the good word!

And when you consider that you have yourself made some little progress, draw others along with you; seek to make comrades on the road to God. Should one among you, Brethren, stroll out towards the forum or the baths, he will invite a friend whom he thinks is not busy to keep him company. This simple action of our ordinary life is pleasant to you, and if it be that you are going towards God, give a thought not to journey alone. Hence it is written: He that heareth, let him say: come (Rev. xxii. 17); so let him who has heard in his heart the invitation of divine love, pass on to his neighbors around about him, the message of the invitation. And though a man may not have even bread wherewith to give an alms to the hungry;  yet, what is still more precious  is able to give who possess but  tongue. For it is a greater to strengthen with the nourishment of a word that will feed the mind for ever, than to fill with earthly bread a stomach of perishable flesh.

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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Numbers 15:  38-39:

38“Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. 39And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.(emphasis my own)

Jeremiah 17:9-10 

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.”

St. Mark 7:

20 And (Jesus Said said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

 

St. Mark 8:

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

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