Memorial of St. Gregory the Great
Scripture Readings: 1 Cor 3:18-23; Lk 5:1-11
St. Gregory the Great is considered a monastic saint. He was apparently not a Benedictine nor did he live by the RB. He founded a community of his own. He firmly believed in the help that community living could give one by occasioning and meeting the demands of love, the demands of thought about the other.
Religious Life was founded for mission, not survival. Every community –religious or secular- is organized around a common intention or love. This moves one’s mindset from “I” to “We”. Lawyers organize around love of the law, plumbers around love of water-delivery systems, and monks around “truly seeking God.” Such seeking is our mission. Augustine Roberts notes that this seeking reveals by our way of life the path to Christ’s heart. It reveals it to the people of God.[i] Apart from this mission survival makes no sense.
Each monastic member is guided in this endeavor by the Holy Rule. A variety of temperaments make up a community and the Rule—as Benedict point’s out—accommodates each one’s temperament, gifts and liabilities and uses them toward seeking God. So, it is this common love that forms and unites us as a community. The Holy Rule facilitates this only if we put principles before personalities. We must put our principles before one’s own personality (not my principles before the others personality). When we do this, we are able to live centered on Christ.
To this end, it is helpful to think of the community as a wagon wheel. The members are the spokes. The farther they are from the center of the wheel, the farther they are apart. The closer they are to the center, the closer they are together.
We are shaped by the end we live for.
[i] Centered on Christ, p. 7-8.