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Monday, September 3, 2007

St. Gregory the Great

Gregory lived from 540-604 and became one of the great Latin Fathers of the Church as well as an outstanding pope. His father was a Roman senator and Gregory had an excellent education and many natural gifts for administration. He became Prefect of Rome and presided over the senate when only 30. After his father's death he became a monk and devoted his time to prayer and the study of the Scriptures and Fathers of the Church. Called by Pope Pelagius II to leave his monastery and become the papal representative at the court in Constantinople, he was first ordained deacon before being sent. He returned in 585, became Abbot of his monastery and the pope's personal counselor. Then, he was elected Pope; he had to struggle interiorly to accept this, but he used his many gifts to strengthen the Church in Europe. His firmness coupled with gentleness overcame many obstacles; he was able to save Rome from the Lombards by establishing a separate peace with them. He is the first pope to call himself servant of the servants of God. He was a prolific writer and his works are still read today. His Dialogues are the source of the life of St. Benedict and other saints. Gregory was a mystic, a great pope, and one of the four great Latin Fathers along with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine. He was responsible for the conversion of England, too. I love the title given him: Doctor of the Desire for God.
Prayer of St.Gregory the Great:(Rather amazing that, although written in the 6th Century, its content resembles many prayers today.)

Lo, fainter now lie spread the shades of night,
and upward spread the trembling gleans of morn;
suppliant we bend before the Lord of light,
and pray at early dawn,
that this sweet charity may all our sin forgive,
and make our miseries to cease;
may grant us health, grant us the gift divine
of everlasting peace.
Father supreme, this grace on us confer;
and thou, O Son, by an eternal birth!
With thee, coequal Spirit, comforter!
whose glory fills the earth.

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