(04 Jun 08 - RV) Pope Benedict held his weekly General Audience this Wednesday in
St. Peter’s Square, during which he spoke to the gathered faithful about the literary
legacy of Pope St. Gregory the Great, who reigned from 590 to 604 and was the first
pope from a monastic background.
Pope Benedict said Pope St. Gregory’s constant
aim was to present the Church’s teaching on the ways that lead to the contemplation
His Homilies on Ezekiel, and his Moral Commentary on Job present
a model of spiritual life which integrates prayer and action. In his Homilies on the
Gospels Saint Gregory explained how the preacher’s own spiritual experience of Christ
should form the basis of his exhortations. The Pastoral Rule describes the ideal Bishop
as a teacher and guide who leads by example and adapts his preaching to the specific
background of those he addresses.
The Pope went on to talk about the great
saint’s Dialogues, a collection of narratives that describe the lives of the saints
of the great Pope’s day.
The Dialogues, a work full of rich theological and
spiritual insights, describe the lives of the saints of Gregory’s epoch. In all things
he insists on intellectual humility as a key to the meaning of Scripture, and proposes
to Pastors and the faithful alike, the continual practise of lectio divina in order
to better understand and follow God’s will.
The Holy Father also talked
about the exemplary way in which Pope St. Gregory carried out the duties of the papal
Pope Gregory defended the prerogatives of the See of Rome, but
with humility as the servant of the servants of God, and respected the rights of other
Pastors, especially the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria. May the life
and teaching of Saint Gregory guide and inspire us on our way to the joyous contemplation
of God in eternity!
In his remarks to the faithful in Polish, the Holy
Father recalled a more recent reformer, Blessed John XXIII, who passed away 45 years
ago this week.
Up PBXVI in Polish… Pope Benedict recalled how Pope John XXIII
called the 2nd Vatican Council, which began the renewal of the Church,
and the reform of the Church’s structures and liturgy. The Holy Father prayed that
the renewal bear fruits in all the faithful and in the whole Church in the 3rd
After the catechesis, Pope Benedict greeted pilgrims in many languages,
I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims
and visitors here today, including the groups from England, Australia, Japan, the
Philippines, Vietnam, Canada and the United States.
I extend special
greetings to the group of Episcopalian pilgrims from Jerusalem, and to the many student
groups present at this audience. May God bless you all!
This week’s Catechesis
was the Holy Father’s second on Pope St. Gregory the Great, and the latest in a series
of talks dedicated to great figures from the 1st millennium of the Church’s