Saturday, 3 September 2011

St Gregory the Great

File:Tomb of pope Gregorius I.jpg

 The tomb of St Gregory in St Peter's Basilica Rome.

John Calvin admired Gregory and declared in his Institutes that Gregory was the last good pope.I fear old JC was a trifle harsh in his judgements, but Gregory deserves to remembered with some affection by any good Anglican: a) because he sent St Augustine to Canterbury b) he wrote his great Rule to guide bishops (part one is good on spiritual direction for anyone in that trade) c) He wrote an early Life of St Benedict in his Dialogues.  He also wrote this (as recorded by the Venomous Bede)

Non enim pro locis res, sed pro bonis rebus loca amanda sunt – "Things are not to be loved for the sake of a place, but places are to be loved for the sake of their good things." When St Augustine asked him whether to use Roman or Gallican liturgical customs in England, Gregory was suggesting that it was not the place that imparted sanctity but good things that sanctified the place, and it was most important to please God. They should pick out what was "pia", "religiosa" and "recta" from any church and use that as best practice in England.  Well in the bits of those southern kingdoms that weren't following Scoto-Irish customs at any rate!

Merciful Father,
who chose your bishop Gregory
to be a servant of the servants of God:
grant that, like him, we may ever long to serve you
by proclaiming your gospel to the nations,
and may ever rejoice to sing your praises;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  AMEN

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