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Sunday, November 9, 2014

St Leo the Great

"In Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain," Wis 7:22

When I was younger and became agitated or anxious with too many things to do at the same time, I would panic and do whatever was directly in front of me. I would wash a dish, clean a floor, anything to get away from the feeling of helplessness. This was not the best way to proceed, but it happens to most of us at least occasionally, and when it does we are very far from the ideal of wisdom spoken of in today's first reading. We do not act intelligently, clearly, certainly. When we need to stop, breathe, pray and seek help and guidance, we too often rush to complete tasks that are not a priority and often wind up making a bad situation worse.

St. Leo, Pope and Doctor, received the title great because he didn't panic, didn't act rashly, but somehow kept his focus at a time in the church's life that would have been overwhelming for most of us. With the Pelagian and Manichean heresies gathering steam and attracting followers and Attila the Hun threatening to overrun Rome, Leo did not panic. Rather, he became an ambassador. He wrote direct but kind and inviting letters to those proposing heresy and met with Attila directly to dissuade him from plundering Rome. More important, in a Christmas sermon, he spoke not with the arrogance that can sometimes accompany power, but with the humility that insists we are equal as sinners. Only humility, Leo reminded his listeners, allows us to search for ways to work together for the good of the entire church.

Today, ask for patience and deeper trust in God.

What helps you slow down when you are acting rashly?

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