Monday, November 11, 2013

Gregory the Great

Gregory the Great is the artist behind the best-selling Gregorian chants. Indeed, if the moral communities of the West are in need of a new Benedict, then the worship communities of the West are in need of a new Gregory. We have suffered under the tyranny of ugly music sung by beautiful people long enough.

What I want to draw your attention to is not Gregory's chants, however, but his book on pastoral care. To be a pastor is to be in a position of power. Who can be in such a position? Gregory has a definite answer:

That man...ought by all means to be drawn with cords to be an example of good living who already lives spiritually, dying to all passions of the flesh; who disregards worldly prosperity, who is afraid of no adversary; who desires only inward health; whose intention the body, in good accord with it, thwarts not at all by its frailness, nor the spirit greatly by its disdain: one who is not led to covet the things of others, but gives freely of his own; who through the bowels of compassion is quickly moved to pardon, yet is never bent down from the fortress of rectitude by pardoning more than is meet; who perpetuates no unlawful deeds, yet deplores those perpetuated by others as though they were his own; who out of affection of heart sympathises with another's infirmity, and so rejoices in the good of his neighbour as though it were his own advantage; who so insinuates himself as an example to others in all he does that among them he has nothing, at any rate of his own past deeds, to blush for; who studies so to live that he may be able to water even dry hearts with the streams of doctrine; who has already learned by the use and trial of prayer that he can obtain what he has requested from the Lord, having had already said to him, as it were, through the voice of experience, While thou art yet speaking, I will say, Here I am.

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