Friday, June 29, 2007

A Shepherd's Warning

Watch Out! The wolf doesn't attack the Lord's flock stealthily at night anymore, but in open daylight. We see him move toward slaughtering the sheep, yet we oppose him without caution and without darts of words. So then, what fruits of a growing flock can we show the Lord if we calmly watch a wild beast mangle those we have been caring for? But we must study to make our hearts passionate by imitating earthly shepherds. They often keep watch through winter nights, nipped by rain and frost, lest even one sheep should perish. And if the prowler does bite one greedily, they busy themselves to save it. They pant with rapid heartbeats, leap to rescue the sheep with loud cries, and are stimulated by the urgency, lest the lord of the flock require what they lost carelessly. Watch then, lest anything perish. And if anything is seized by chance, bring it back to the Lord's flock by cries of godly instruction. Then the Shepherd of shepherds may mercifully approve of us in His judgment for having watched over His flock.
(From Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, pg 180- Gregory I, Epistles 2.48)

Gregory I (540-604). Gregory was born into a godly family of considerable influence in Rome. After the death of his father, he proceeded to set up seven monasteries, one of which he became abbot. Gregory wasn't allowed to stay for long; the pope called him to be one of the seven deacons of Rome and subsequently sent him to Constantinople to be a representative at the imperial court. In 590, after the death of the pope, he was called to take his place. Gregory called himself "servant of the servants of God," a title every pope has used since. His most important writings are the Pastoral Rule, a handbook for bishops; numerous teachings, letters, dialogues; and the Exposition of Job.

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