Tuesday, September 02, 2008

St. Gregory the Great, 3 September

September 3 is the (new) feast day of St. Gregory the Great (540-604; pope from 590-604). It is the anniversary of his ordination. The original feast was March 12, the day of his death, and still is so in the Oriental Churches, the Episcopal Church and in the Tridentine Calendar. While my parents named me "Gregory," it was really because a 3-syllable first name goes well with a 2-syllable last name, giving the rhythm duh-duh-duh DUM DUM. This fortuitous circumstance allowed me to choose which Gregory I would have as my heavenly patron. Early on as a child I checked out other St. Gregorys but I liked this Gregory the best. The following is from the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia:

Pope St. Gregory I ("the Great")

Doctor of the Church; born at Rome about 540; died 12 March 604.

Gregory is certainly one of the most notable figures in Ecclesiastical History. He has exercised in many respects a momentous influence on the doctrine, the organization, and the discipline of the Catholic Church. To him we must look for an explanation of the religious situation of the Middle Ages; indeed, if no account were taken of his work, the evolution of the form of medieval Christianity would be almost inexplicable. And further, in so far as the modern Catholic system is a legitimate development of medieval Catholicism, of this too Gregory may not unreasonably be termed the Father. Almost all the leading principles of the later Catholicism are found, at any rate in germ, in Gregory the Great. (F.H. Dudden, "Gregory the Great", 1, p. v).

The rest of the article can be found here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06780a.htm

The Order of St. Benedict claims him as a Benedictine, mainly because of the ink he gave to St. Benedict in his book the "Dialogs." As a matter of fact, a Greek translation of his Dialogs became so popular in the Eastern Empire that there he is known as St. Gregory the Dialogist.

Collect for St. Gregory the Great:

Almighty, eternal God, fasting and satisfied by Thy Gifts, even perfected by the leanness which is pleasing to Thee, we supplients appeal to Thy Majesty that the shadows of sins be expelled from our hearts in this time of fasting. Through our interceding, great and high Priest Gregory, create openness to the Divine Mysteries, and make us approach the True Light which is Christ. Through Christ our Lord, Who reigneth with the Father and the Holy Spirit, throughout all ages of ages. R. Amen.

And another collect:

Almighty and merciful God, who raised up in Gregory a servant of the servants of God, by whose labour the English people were brought into the knowledge of the Catholic and Apostolic faith: Preserve in your Church evermore a thankful remembrance of his zeal and devotion; that your people, being fruitful in every good work, may receive with him and your servants everywhere the crown of glory that does not fade away; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

If I cannot reach the level of his asceticism, may I at least reach the level of his efficiency!

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