St. Gregory the Great, Pope

Friends in the Lord, today is the Feast of St. Gregory the Great. St. Gregory was born at Rome in 540AD. He became a Roman senator, and by age 30 he was already prefect of Rome. After five years he resigned everything and became a monk.
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One day he saw young men being sold as slaves. He asked where they were from, and it was told to him, ‘they are pagans from England.’ Gregory knew then, that Christ must be brought to England.      He set off to England as a missionary,      but because he was so loved by the people of Rome,      the Pope sent a messenger to call him back.
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3 days into his journey, Gregory sat down to rest and to read a book. As he was reading, a locust came and landed on his book. He took it as a sign that a messenger was coming, and so he waited. Sure enough, the messenger caught up to him and brought him back.
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Now at that time, the Bubonic plague was raging through Rome and many were dying of the plague. Even the Pope died of the plague, and so they elected Gregory as the new Pope.
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Pope Gregory immediately led the city in praying to God to end the plague. They took the image of the Virgin Mary painted by St. Luke,[ii] and carried it throughout the town in a procession, asking God to help them. Their prayers were soon answered and the plague came to an end; who drove it away? At that moment, Gregory saw, appearing to him, St. Michael the archangel, wiping a bloody sword and returning it to its sheath. So he built there a Church, in honor of the angels, and it is called to this very day, the Castle of the Holy Angel.[iii]
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It was by the efforts of Pope Gregory, that England was converted into a great Catholic country. But he always felt tired and weighed down by his responsibilities. He longed to return to the quiet of his monastery. But no. He offered each day, and each chore, and his work, to God.
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When Rome was being attacked by the barbarians, he personally negotiated with the barbarian King; he rooted out corruption in the Church, and helped priests to be holier. He beautified the Mass with what we know as Gregorian Chant, and poured out what money was had, to ransom prisoners, help the Jews, and victims of famine. He was perhaps the humblest man to ever walk the earth.
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He had been elected Pope at age 50, and he never did feel worthy. He was called in Rome, the ‘Father of the City and the joy of the world.’ Next to St. Peter himself, and perhaps Pope Leo, Gregory the Great is one of the greatest Popes in history.
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[i] Golden Legend under St Michael

[ii] It is unknown what happened to the original painting by St. Luke; this was likely one of the important copies of that painting, probably the one known as ‘Salus Populi Romani.’

[iii] Golden Legend under St Michael

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