Thursday, 3 September 2009

The feast of St. Gregory the Great, 2009

Unusually, we celebrate Gregory's feast, not on the day he died, but on the anniversary of the day he became Pope in the year AD 590. Every time his feast comes round, I am struck by two things in the second Office reading for his day. It is from his homilies and is entitled 'For the love of Christ I do not spare myself in preaching him.' The reading though, reveals a great deal about the pitfalls, dangers and difficulties of being Pope, particularly as he experienced them as a man who had been a monk. And the two things? His humility and the realisation as to how difficult it must be to be Pope in any age.

Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church, pray for our present Pope Benedict XVI.

Responsory from today's Office:

R. Gregory's teaching on morals and on the mystical life sprang from the source of holy scripture; through him the living water of the gospel flowed out to all nations, and he who is now dead, still speaks to us.

v. As an eagle's glance encompasses the earth beneath it, Gregory's boundless charity encompassed all men, both great and small, and he who is now dead, still speaks to us.

Concluding prayer:

God, our Father,
your rule is a rule of love,
your providence is full of mercy for your people.
Through the intercession of Saint Gregory grant the spirit of wisdom
to those you have placed in authority,
so that the spiritual growth of the people
may bring eternal joy to their pastors.
We make our prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever, world without end


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