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Sunday, September 2, 2012

St. Gregory the Great

"You faith might rest not on human wisdom, but on the power of God." 1 Cor 2:5

Paul's words to the church in Corinth are as important today as they were when they were first written, and we can find evidence for this in the life of almost every saint. Gregory the Great wanted only to be a monk, to live a quiet life of prayer and work, but God had other plans. Because he did not seek the office of bishop or pope, his reflections about these offices in the church become even more important.

Reminding bishops that they should think of themselves first as physicians whose only concern is the health of their patients, he writes, "A religious leader should be careful in deciding when to remain silent and be sure to say something useful when deciding to speak. In this way he will avoid saying things that would be better not said, or leaving unsaid things that ought to be said." (Pastoral Care)

Learning when to speak and when to keep silent is a lifetime challenge, especially for those who have authority in families and churches. All of us would do well to listen to St. Gregory. Not only would we avoid silly and unnecessary disputes, we would allow people time to step away from divisive language and attitudes. What a gift that would be in today's world and church!

Today, if you are unsure of what to say, say nothing.

Who has taught you most by their patient silence?

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