St-Gregory-the-DialogistMy dear brethren, I urge you to meditate seriously on the word of God, and not to think lightly of the writings which your Creator has bequeathed to us.

Beyond all doubt they afford warmth to hearts which would otherwise be numb with cold because of our sins.

When we read of the heroic deeds of our saintly forefathers, their holy example inspires us and gives us the courage to do whatever is right.

Are we trying to avoid sin and endure humbly even when we are injured by someone in our own family?

Let us remember Abel. Scripture says that his brother killed him, but we read nothing about Abel offering any resistance.

Are we striving to put God’s commands before our own imme­diate advantage? Let us think of Noah.

At the command of almighty God he put aside his own domestic concerns and spent a hundred years building the Ark.

Are we endeavouring to acquire the virtue of obedience? We should look at Abraham.

He left his home, kindred, and native land out of obedience to the command to go to a land which he was to receive as an inheritance, and he set out not knowing where he was going.

He was ready to kill the beloved heir he had received for the sake of an eternal inheritance; and because he did not hesitate to offer his only son to the Lord, he received the whole multitude of nations as his offspring.

Remember Joseph. When tempted by his master’s wife he was determined to preserve his chastity even at the risk of his life.

And so, since he knew how to rule his body well, he was made ruler of all Egypt.

Do we seek to acquire gentleness and patience? Let us call Moses to mind, the ruler of six hundred thousand armed men, as well as their women and children.

He is described as the most gentle person living on the whole face of the earth.

Do we long to rid ourselves of animosity and become large-­hearted and kind? Let us think of Samuel.

When the people who ousted him from the leadership asked him to pray to the Lord for them, he answered: Far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.

The holy man really thought he would be committing a sin if he did not show kindness and goodwill by praying for those whose opposition he had endured even to the point of being deposed by them.

Gregory the Great (c.540-604): Homilies on Ezekiel, 2.3.18-21 (CCL 142:250-3) from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Thursday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time, Year I.