“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” These are words Saint Gregory took to heart. He was one of the foremost theologians and thinkers in Church history, and did much to spread the Gospel in an orthodox way throughout the world.
St. Gregory showed a great deal of promise at a young age. He had a stellar political career, becoming prefect of Rome before the age of thirty. After a short time, he resigned his office and dedicated his life to the priesthood. He joined a Benedictine monastery and became abbot, founding several other monasteries during his time there. Eventually he was called to become the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, and he dedicated his papal ministry to reforming the Church, the Liturgy, and its priests. He spent a good deal of time and money ransoming political prisoners of the Lombards, and helped to stabilize the social climate somewhat during a time of great strife in the medieval world. He always stood ready to renounce his own ambitions to follow Christ, and spoke of himself as unworthy of the grace God had given him.
Gregory gave himself to Jesus’ call in today’s Gospel reading, “from now on you will be catching men.” He is a wonderful model for all of us on spreading the Gospel through faithful prayer and participation in the Sacraments. The medieval world and the Church owe a great deal to Gregory’s faithful ministry, and for this we call him “Gregory the Great.”