Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Humility in Popes Before 2013

Francis is a humble pope. It's official. We know.

But today's pope, despite the title "Gregory the Great" d.604 (a name given after his death btw) shows that humility wasn't something popes started last March.
Pope Gregory could have used 5 candles
but was too humble.

Gregory was born wealthy but when his father died, he sold his property and turned his family estate into a monastery.

Gregory was favored by rich people but found a mission in converting slaves to Christianity.

Gregory called the papacy an office that is held by "the servant of the servants of God".

Gregory demanded that the clergy seek out the poor and help them.

Gregory began a practice of taking alms for the poor by encouraging, sometimes strongly, the wealthy to give of their riches.

He encouraged music and art in service to the church because he believed that those who were illiterate could learn from these disciplines.

He missed the monastic life and thought of himself a better person as a monk:

When I lived in a monastic community I was able to keep my tongue from idle topics and to devote my mind almost continually to the discipline of prayer. Since taking on my shoulders the burden of pastoral care, I have been unable to keep steadily recollected because my mind is distracted by many responsibilities.
I am forced to consider questions affecting churches and monasteries and often I must judge the lives and actions of individuals; at one moment I am forced to take part in certain civil affairs, next I must worry over the incursions of barbarians and fear the wolves who menace the flock entrusted to my care; now I must accept political responsibility in order to give support to those who preserve the rule of law; now I must bear patiently the villainies of brigands, and then I must confront them, yet in all charity. (Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings)