Friday, September 3, 2010

Not always what we want

Today we celebrate Pope St. Gregory the Great, both a doctor of the Church and one of the Latin Fathers of the church. While volumes have been and could be written about him, one of the things that is most striking in his biography is how he came to be Pope.

While it has always been fashionable to look on the Catholic Church as rife with politics, intrigue, ambition, and scandal ( and sometimes rightly so), Gregory stands in stark contrast to all of that.

He came from a noble family and could have used that to achieve any position he wanted, but what he wanted was to be a monk, to live out his days in the solitude of the monastery. He wanted no part of being Pope, but was by all accounts "forced" to accept the title. He was the first pope to come from a monastic background.

It would be wonderful be to able to say that because he knew it was the will of God, he accepted the papacy with joy and contentment, but that would be a lie. He continued in the first years to bemoan the lose of his monastic life.
But he did his ministry as pope anyway, and that is the key.

He did what God and the church needed him to do, despite the fact that he was not what he wanted to do, or even what he felt called to do. How often do we christians try and dress up our own desires as a calling from God? Sometimes doing God's will requires immersing ourselves in what we perceive to be mere mundane drudgery.

We call him "the great" but at the time from his perspective there was nothing great about it.

Today each us will move through our rather mundane lives, doing the things that need to be done, but we never know what greatness God might see in the simplest of our acts.

- Fr. Wayne