Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church

(I Thessalonians 5:1-6.9-11; Luke 4:31-37)

In the choir loft of an old church there are images of St. Cecilia and St. Gregory the Great, today’s patron.  Very little is known with certainty of Cecilia.  But Gregory’s incredibly productive papacy is well documented.  He evidently at least dabbled in music so that “Gregorian chant” is attributed to him.  Gregory also promoted missions and wrote theological treatises.  He was a Renaissance man, nine hundred years before the Renaissance unofficially began!  As people are amazed at Jesus in today’s gospel, others stood in awe of this great churchman.

Jesus speaks with such authority that demons supposedly heed his words.  The reservation implied by “supposedly” is not meant to deny evil spirits.  The Greek word daimon originally meant an uncontrollable urge, perhaps to do something evil.  It may be that Jesus is speaking with such insight and authority that people take control of their lives.  His words may fortify them to act justly despite the impulse to do otherwise.

People often confess the same sin time after time.  It may be anger or lack of attention to prayer, but the most confessed sin is lust.  More specifically, it is viewing pornography.  We have to look to Jesus to overcome this demon.  Gregory the Great, who wrote a famous treatise on morals, would certainly recommend a turn toward Jesus.  It may take time, but asking our Lord for help in prayer can arrest any urge however seemingly uncontrollable.