Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 11 April

detail of a painting of Saint Leo Magnus; by Francisco de Herrera el Mozo, 17th century; Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsSaint Leo the Great, Pope, Doctor

Saint Leo showed his great humility by saying in his first sermon after being raised to the Pontificate: “O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and I was afraid, for is there anything so strange as work confided to the feeble, greatness to the little and dignity to the unworthy?” One of his chief sources of strength was prayer, and he several times fasted for forty days in honor of Saint Peter the Apostle, who deigned himself to correct the letter to Flavian, which is a masterpiece as an exposition of the mystery of the Incarnation. Leo struggled during twenty-one years, as Pope, against the barbarians and heretics. By his words alone Attila, King of the Huns, was deterred from entering Rome. Genseric, an Arian prince, and less tractable, spared the city from fire and sword, though not from pillage. Leo also fought nobly against the Manichaeans, the Donatists, the Nestorians and the Pelagians, when possible by persuasion, but if he saw that was useless, by repression. Above all he had Eutyches, as monk of Constantinople, condemned by the Council of Chalcedon (451) for denying the distinction of the two natures in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. One of the responsibilities which occupied Saint Leo towards the end of his life was the conferring Holy Orders, so well did he understand the qualities required for receiving this grace and the evil which they could do who received it without sufficient virtue or a right spirit (461).

Prayer

“O my God, I pray for all, but above all for Thy Vicar and those who surround him.” Saint Catherine of Sienna

Practice

Let your grave and modest demeanor cause religion to be respected by the wicked.