Sunday, December 31, 2000

From monk to pope

Today we celebrate the memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great. While he was elected pope by unanimous acclamation in 590, and did many great things as Pope, this was not the life he truly wanted. He was the first monk to be elected pope.

In his writings we see a man who struggles like each of us to keep the proper balance in his life. He freely acknowledges his own weakness and how easy it is outside the confines of a monastery to be drawn into conversations and others things he has no business being involved in. He freely acknowledges that he likes these things, as we all do. After all, it wouldn't be temptation if we didn't like it.

During his early monastic years Gregory could be harsh in his condemnation of the sins of others. We see in his later writing his recognition of just how difficult it is to live in the world but not be of the world.

I find myself drawn little by little into idle conversation, and I begin to talk freely about matters which once I would have avoided. What once I found tedious I now enjoy

Today as we struggle to live the life to which Christ has called us, let us turn to St. Gregory the Great not only for his example but for his intercession.