September 2005 - Volume 10, Issue 2

St. Gregory the Great

September 3

St Gregory the Great

Born to a wealthy Christian family, Gregory was a brilliant young man. He became a perfect when he was only 33, but soon after, he resigned, sold his properties to build monasteries and then gave the rest to the poor. Turning his own home into a monastery, Gregory settled into the austere, humble life of a month.

Rome was in a disastrous state at the time. Floods, plagues, fires and earthquakes had devastated the city, and barbarian tribes threatened to invade. People suffered from disease, famine and looting. Then the Pope died, and Gregory was unanimously elected to replace him. Although he did not want to leave the monastery, Gregory accepted, and soon, he was warding off barbarian attacked and emptying the Church treasury to help the needy.

One day, Gregory saw some boys being sold as slaves, and their innocence touched him. From that moment on, converting all of England to Christianity became his priority. He liberated several boys and educated them at a monastery so that they could bring the Gospel to their homeland. Unable to go to England himself, he sent a mission of 40 monks, whom he personally directed.

Self-proclaimed as a "servant of the servants of God," Gregory never rested. He was an excellent administrator, encouraging evangelism and passing numerous Church reforms. A prolific writer, his Dialogues was one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages. He fought off the emperor's tax collectors, wrote homilies about the Gospels and inspired the haunting beauty of Gregorian chant - all in just 14 years.

Great Doctor of the Church,
you called the Pope
"the servant of the servants of the Lord."
You were outstanding
as a moralist and liturgist,
and you introduced the renowned "Gregorian Chant"
into the liturgical celebrations of the Church.
Inspire singers to realize that they have a gift of God
and should use it for the good of others.
Help all Christians sing joyfully at the Eucharist
and so celebrate it as the community of God.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives