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

Will the rhinoceros be willing to serve thee? (Job 39:9).

The devil, through envy, inflicted the wound of pride on healthful man in Paradise; in order that he, who had not received death when created, might deserve it when elated.

But since it is competent for Divine power, not only to make good things out of nothing, but also to refashion them from the evils which the devil had committed the humility of God appeared amongst men, as a remedy against this wound inflicted by the proud devil, that they who had fallen through imitation of their haughty enemy, might rise by the example of their humbled Creator.

Against, therefore, the haughty devil, God appeared amongst men, having been made a humble Man. The mighty of this world, that is, the members of the haughty devil, believed Him to be as despicable, as they saw Him to be lowly.

For the more the wound of their heart swelled up, the more it despised the soothing remedy. Our medicine therefore being spurned by the wound of the proud, came to the wound of the humble. For God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (1 Cor. 1:27).

And a work was wrought upon the poor, for the wealthy proud ones afterwards to wonder at. For while they behold in them new virtues, they were afterwards astounded at the miracles of those, whose life they before despised. And thence, returning immediately with fear to their own hearts, they dreaded that sanctity in miracles, which they had scorned in precepts.

Mighty things were therefore confounded by the weak; because while the life of the humble rises to veneration, the pride of the haughty has fallen.

Because therefore blessed Job is a type of Holy Church, and Almighty God foresaw that, in the early times of the rising Church, the mighty of this world would refuse, with the stubborn neck of their heart, to undertake its light burden, let Him say: Will the rhinoceros be willing to serve thee?

For the rhinoceros is quite of an untamed nature, so that, if it is ever taken, it cannot in any way be kept. For, as is said, it dies immediately from being unable to bear it.

[…] What is, therefore, designated by this rhinoceros, but the mighty of this world, or the supreme powers themselves of the kingdoms therein, who, elated by the pride of foolish boasting, whilst they are puffed up by false honour without, are made inwardly destitute by real miseries? To whom it is well said; Why boastest thou, O dust and ashes? (Sirach 10:9).

Gregory the Great (c.540-604): Reflections (Moralia) on Job, 31, 1-2 (on Job 39:9) @ Lectionary Central.

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