Pope Gregory the Great (c. 540 – c. 604) is considered the father of the medieval papacy and is honored (along with Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome) as one of the Doctors of the Church. He was the first pope to come from a monastic background, and he left behind prolific writings that still influence the Church today. He instituted liturgical reforms that shaped the Roman Rite and is credited with the emergence of plainchant, known as Gregorian chant. During his papacy, he supported missionary efforts, especially to England, and emphasized caring for the poor, starting in his own city of Rome. His writings range from theological works to practical instructions for pastoral care to hundreds of personal letters. As a leader, Gregory paid attention to the political, spiritual, and physical needs of the people. He guided the Church to be a stabilizing force in a very chaotic age. His feast day is September 3.
“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.” — St. Gregory the Great
Questions for Reflection:
- What qualities do you think make a person a good leader, especially a good spiritual leader? Who do you know that possesses these traits?
- Which of these qualities do you possess? How can you share them with others?