Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Memorial Readings: Sir 39:6-11; Ps 37:3-4, 5-6, 30-31; MT 16:13-19
Daily Readings: Wis 6:1-11; PS 82:3-4, 6-7; Lk 17:11-19
Notes: Today I wanted to highlight the fact we can choose from the Memorial Readings or the continuous Daily Readings.
Since we live in a similar age of extremes (like a grandfather clock pendulum) swinging from extreme to extreme, I thought the memorial readings fit well because the life and example of Pope Leo, the Great fits so well.
The Franciscans have a great wrtie up on Pope Leo, the Great’s work. Below, abbreviated:
Saint Leo the Great’s Story
With apparent strong conviction of the importance of the Bishop of Rome in the Church, and of the Church as the ongoing sign of Christ’s presence in the world, Leo the Great displayed endless dedication as pope. Elected in 440, he worked tirelessly as “Peter’s successor,” guiding his fellow bishops as “equals in the episcopacy and infirmities.”
He worked at length to control the heresies of Pelagianism—overemphasizing human freedom—Manichaeism—seeing everything material as evil—and others, placing demands on their followers so as to secure true Christian beliefs.
His growth to sainthood has its basis in the spiritual depth with which he approached the pastoral care of his people, which was the fourth focus of his work. He is known for his spiritually profound sermons. An instrument of the call to holiness, well-versed in Scripture and ecclesiastical awareness, Leo had the ability to reach the everyday needs and interests of his people.
It is said of Leo that his true significance rests in his doctrinal insistence on the mysteries of Christ and the Church and in the supernatural charisms of the spiritual life given to humanity in Christ and in his Body, the Church. Thus Leo held firmly that everything he did and said as pope for the administration of the Church represented Christ, the head of the Mystical Body, and Saint Peter, in whose place Leo acted.
At a time when there is widespread criticism of Church structures, we also hear criticism that bishops and priests—indeed, all of us—are too preoccupied with administration of temporal matters. Pope Leo is an example of a great administrator who used his talents in areas where spirit and structure are inseparably combined: doctrine, peace, and pastoral care. He avoided an “angelism” that tries to live without the body, as well as the “practicality” that deals only in externals.
If it pleases the Lord Almighty,
he who studies the law of the Most High
will be filled with the spirit of understanding.
The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Trust in the Lord and do good
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
Come after me, says the Lord,
and I will make you fishers of men.
[Jesus] asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Francis is such a Pope, attempting to moderate the extremes of today.
Pray for the success of the work of his hands.
Peace be with you,