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Tag Archives: St Gregory the Great

WHY DID PETER RETURN TO HIS FISHING?

WHY DID PETER RETURN TO HIS FISHING?

HOMILY OF ST GREGORY, POPE, ON  John 21:1-14

The lesson from the holy Gospel that has just been read to you, my brethren, urges a question upon the mind, and yet, while urging it, indicates the value of discretion.

For it may be asked why Peter who before his conversion was a fisherman, should after his conversion return again to his fishing? And since the Truth says: “No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God,” why did he take up again what he had once given up?

But, if we look into the matter with some thought, the reason will soon appear; for doubtless, since the business in which he was engaged before his conversion was not a sinful one, he could return to it again after his conversion without committing any fault.

… BUT MATTHEW SAT NO MORE AT THE SEAT OF CUSTOM

Now we know that Peter was a fisherman, and Matthew a tax-gatherer. After his conversion Peter returned to fishing, but Matthew sat no more at the seat of custom: for it is one thing to seek a living by fishing and quite another to amass wealth by profits gained in the gathering of taxes. There are indeed many trades that can hardly, or never, be practised without sin. It is necessary, then, that a man after his conversion should not apply himself again to such occupations as would involve him to sin.

THE SEA REPRESENTS THIS PRESENT WORLD, THE SHORE SIGNIFIES ETERNITY

Again it may be asked why, when the disciples were labouring on the sea, the Lord appeared, after his resurrection, standing on the shore, while before his resurrection he had walked upon the waves of the sea in the sight of his disciples. We shall soon see the reason for this, if we consider the purpose which it served.

For what does the sea represent, if not this present world, surging with the tumult of its ever-shifting fortunes, and with the billows of this corruptible life? What is signified by the solidity of the shore, if not the everlasting peace of eternity? Since, therefore, the disciples were as yet surrounded by the billows of this mortal life, they were struggling on the sea; but since our Redeemer, after his resurrection, had now passed beyond the corruption of the flesh, he was standing on the shore.

– St Gregory, Pope, Homily 24 on the Gospels; from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

A HOMILY BY ST GREGORY THE GREAT

(Luke 24:13-35)

You have heard, dearly beloved brethren, how the Lord appeared to two of the disciples as they were upon a journey. Although they did not as yet believe in him, at least they talked of him. He did not show himself to them in his true likeness, for then they would have recognised him. Therefore, that which the Lord was working outwardly with respect to their bodily eyes, was precisely what was taking place inwardly with regard to the eyes of their hearts. For inwardly they loved, and yet they doubted. Outwardly, the Lord was present with the., but did not show them who he was. Thus because they were speaking of him, he manifested his presence to them; but because they doubted, he hid the countenance they would have recognised.

HE TOOK UP WHAT THEY WERE SAYING 

Indeed, he took up what they were saying, rebuked the dullness of their understanding, and laid open those mysterious passages of the Sacred Scriptures that had been written concerning him. Nevertheless, because he was not yet present in their hearts by faith, he pretended he would go further. For indeed, the Latin word  fingere, to pretend, has also the meaning of componere, to fashion; hence, those who fashion clay are called figuli, potters. Therefore, he who is Truth itself, did nothing by duplicity but he showed himself to them in body, such as he appeared to them in mind. But they were to be tried, to see whether, though they did not yet love him as God, they would at least show a friendly feeling for him as a stranger.

“AND THEY CONSTRAINED HIM”

But since these men with whom the Truth was walking were not without charity, they invited him to their lodging as though he were indeed a stranger. But why should we say “invited,” since it was there written: “And they constrained him?” Without doubt, we are to learn from this example that strangers are not merely to be invited to share our hospitality, but even to be pressed to do so. And so they set the table for him, and offered him bread and meats: and then, in the breaking of bread, they recognised as God him whom they did not know when he explained the Sacred Scriptures. Therefore, in hearing the commandments of God, they were not enlightened, but in doing them they obtained light; for it is written: “Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Whoever, then, desires to understand the lessons he has heard, let him hasten to put in practice what he has already been able to hear. Behold, the Lord was not recognised while he was speaking, but was recognised when food was served to him.

– St Gregory the Great, Homily 23 on the Gospels; An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

 

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CARNAL AND SPIRITUAL PLEASURES

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CARNAL AND SPIRITUAL PLEASURES

There is this difference, dearly beloved brethren, between the pleasures of the body and the soul.

Bodily pleasures are greatly desired so long as we do not yet enjoy them, but when they are partaken of to the full our liking for them soon turns to disgust.

Spiritual delights, on the contrary, are a matter of indifference and scorn to us when we do not possess them, but when we begin to experience them then we are filled with desire, and the more we enjoy them, the more we desire them.

In the pleasures of the body desire is delightful, fruition disappointing; in the pleasures of the soul desire is poor, fruition very delightful. The former, when indulged in, soon bring disgust; but the latter we can never have too much.

– From a homily by St Gregory the Great. From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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HEAR, O THOU BOUNTEOUS MAKER, HEAR (HYMN)

– Lent –

Hear, O thou bounteous Maker, hear,

Our humble vows with gracious ear:

Turn not thy saving face away

Whilst on this solemn fast we pray.

 

Great searcher of our hearts, to thee

We here deplore our misery;

Behold, we to thy mercies fly,

Do thou thy healing grace apply.

– St Gregory the Great: Audi, Benigne Conditor (6th century)

 

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GOD HEARS EVERY SINGLE PRAYER

“The Lord asks nothing better than to load us with His graces. ‘But,’ says Saint Gregory the Great, ‘He wishes to be asked, nay, more importuned and, as it were, forced by our prayers.’

Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi goes so far as to say that God is not content with hearing our prayers; it would even seem as if He were grateful for them. Yes, for God being of infinite goodness, which demands a free outlet, He has, in a sense, an infinite need of bestowing His graces upon us. Now He Himself has laid down the law, that before giving us anything, He must be asked for it. Hence it is that our prayers are so agreeable to Him, and even place Him, so to speak, under obligations to us.

‘We pray,’ says Saint John Chrysostom, ‘and we are always heard, and heard even while we yet pray. Yes, we pray to God, and even before we have finished our prayer, the grace which we solicit is granted to us.'”

Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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“LET US CONSIDER WITH HOW MUCH GOODNESS GOD PUTS UP WITH US”

“What tongue can describe the heart of the divine mercy? What mind is not amazed by the riches of such great love? The psalmist was thinking of these riches of divine love when he said: ‘My helper, I will sing a psalm to you. It is you, O God, who are my protector, my God, my mercy.’

Carefully weighing the labours surrounding our humanity, he called God his helper. He calls his ‘protector’ the one who protects in the midst of our present distress until we come to eternal rest. But bearing in mind that God sees our evil deeds and bears with them, that he puts up with our sins and still preserves us for his rewards because of repentance, he could not just speak of God as being merciful but called him mercy itself, saying: ‘My God, my mercy’.

‘MY GOD, MY MERCY’

Let us then recall before our eyes the evil deeds we have done, let us consider with how much goodness God puts up with us, let us bear in mind the depth of his love. He is not only lenient toward our sins, but he even promises the heavenly kingdom to those who repent after sinning. Let each of us say from the very depths of our hearts, let us all say, ‘My God, my mercy’.”
– St Gregory the Great

 

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PRAYER TO ST GREGORY THE GREAT

(Patron saint of teachers, popes, musicians, singers, music industry and those working with haberdashery)

SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT, POPE AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH; MEMORIAL: SEPTEMBER 3

Born about 540, Gregory was Prefect of Rome when he renounced the world and entered a monastery about 575. He was ordained deacon, and sent on a papal mission to Constantinople from 580-585. He became pope in 590. It was the time of the barbarian attacks on Rome; he cared for the poor and refugees, made contact with the Barbarians, sent missionaries to England. His writings are extensive, particularly the commentaries on scripture. His liturgies, collected in the Gregorian Sacramentary, have been influential to our own day.

PRAYER:

Father,
you guide your people with kindness
and govern us with love.
By the prayers of Saint Gregory
give the spirit of wisdom
to those you have called to lead your Church.
May the growth of your people in holiness
be the eternal joy of your shepherds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 
 

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