Saint 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 is the one for whom Gregorian Chant is named. He also spent a good deal of time and money ransoming the political prisoners of the Lombards, and helped to stabilize the social climate somewhat during a time of great strife in the medieval world.
Of course, there’s always strife in the world. Whether we measure that in the secular world, noting the many acts of violence throughout the world, and even in our own cities, or if we measure it in our Church, noting the scandals and sadness that has marred our recent history, a lot of what we deal with on a daily basis needs to be set right. Reform is always needed, or else good institutions become stagnant, and then corrupt. We look for the intercession of people like Pope Saint Gregory the Great to lead us back to Christ.
Jesus wishes to make all things new: in today’s Gospel he casts out a demon in order to heal an afflicted soul. Today’s Psalm, which Saint Gregory would have chanted beautifully, calls us to trust in the Lord to become new, so that our world and our Church can be made new:
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?