Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 12 March

detail of a stained glass window of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, by Syrius Eberle, date unknown; parish church of Saint Benedict in Odelzhausen, Dachau, Bayern, Germany; photographed on 17 October 2015 by GFreihalter; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsSaint Gregory the Great, Pope

This son of Saint Benedict was great by his illustrious birth, great in his dignity as Pope, great by the virtues which he showed while occupying the chair of Saint Peter and great in the works which he accomplished. Before his promotion to the Papacy he had already distinguished himself as Cardinal Legate at Constantinople, where he refuted the heresy of the Greek Patriarch, who taught that we shall rise again, not in bodies of flesh, but in aerial forms only. When promoted to the Sovereign Pontificate, Saint Gregory tried in vain to escape from such an overwhelming responsibility by hiding in a cavern, but his retreat was discovered by the apparition of a fiery dove hovering over it. With shattered health, during the twelve years of his Pontificate, he contended energetically against the Donatists and Arians, undertook the conversion of England, defended the primacy of the Holy See against the Patriarch of Constantinople, encouraged the devotion of the Stations in Rome, gave a definite form to the simple and majestic ecclesiastical chant known as the “Gregorian,” and found, in the midst of it all, time to serve the poor every day and to address the most admirable letters to pious souls. In his writings, wisdom and greatness are happily united to the simplicity and sweetness of the Gospel. One of the sermons of Saint Thomas Aquinas is devoted to commenting on the Gospel of Saint Gregory’s feast. (684)

Prayer

O my God, I desire honor even when I appear to fly from it. What a refinement of pride!

Practice

Pray for the conversion of England, for which the holy Roman Church has ahvays shown the greatest solicitude.