Pope_Benedictus_XVI(September 3rd is the feast of St Gregory the Great)

He was a passionate reader of the Bible, which he approached not simply with a speculative purpose:

from Sacred Scripture, he thought, the Christian must draw not theoretical understanding so much as the daily nourishment for his soul, for his life as man in this world.

For example, in the Homilies on Ezekiel, he emphasized this function of the sacred text:

to approach the Scripture simply to satisfy one’s own desire for knowledge means to succumb to the temptation of pride and thus to expose oneself to the risk of sliding into heresy.

Intellectual humility is the primary rule for one who searches to penetrate the supernatural realities beginning from the sacred Book.

Obviously, humility does not exclude serious study; but to ensure that the results are spiritually beneficial, facilitating true entry into the depth of the text, humility remains indispensable.

Only with this interior attitude can one really listen to and eventually perceive the voice of God.

On the other hand, when it is a question of the Word of God understanding it means nothing if it does not lead to action.

In these Homilies on Ezekiel is also found that beautiful expression according which “the preacher must dip his pen into the blood of his heart; then he can also reach the ear of his neighbour”.

Reading his homilies, one sees that Gregory truly wrote with his life-blood and, therefore, he still speaks to us today.

[…] Of notable importance and beauty are also the Homilies on the Gospel.

[…]  The guiding principle, which links the different homilies, is captured in the word preacher: not only the minister of God, but also every Christian, has the duty “to preach” of what he has experienced in his innermost being, following the example of Christ who was made man to bring to all the good news of salvation.

[…] The expectation of the fulfilment of all things in Christ…ended by becoming the guiding reason of his every thought and activity. From here sprang his incessant reminders to be vigilant and to perform good works.

[…] The great Pontiff insisted on the Pastor’s duty to recognize daily his own unworthiness in the eyes of the Supreme Judge, so that pride did not negate the good accomplished.

For this the final chapter of the Pastoral Rule is dedicated to humility: “When one is pleased to have achieved many virtues, it is well to reflect on one’s own inadequacies and to humble oneself: instead of considering the good accomplished, it is necessary to consider what was neglected”.

All these precious indications demonstrate the lofty concept that St Gregory had for the care of souls, which he defined as the ars artium, the art of arts.

Benedict XVI (b. 1927): St Gregory the Great (General Audience, 4th June 2008.

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