St. Leo the Great
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."
Leo is known as one of the best administrative popes of the ancient Church. His work branched into four main areas, indicative of his notion of the pope's total responsibility for the flock of Christ. 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. A second major area of his concern was doctrinal controversy in the Church in the East, to which he responded with a classic letter setting down the Church's teaching on the two natures of Christ. With strong faith, he also led the defense of Rome against barbarian attack, taking the role of peacemaker.
In these three areas, Leo's work has been highly regarded. 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. One of his sermons is used in the Office of Readings on Christmas.
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 St. Peter, in whose place Leo acted.
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.
Daily Prayer - 2015-11-10
I reflect for a moment on God's presence around me and in me.
Thank you God for my freedom
In the presence of my loving Creator,
The Word of God
Reading 1 Wis 2:23--3:9
God formed man to be imperishable;
Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19
R. (2a) I will bless the Lord at all times.
Alleluia Jn 14:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 17:7-10
Jesus said to the Apostles:
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
God formed man to be imperishable. (Wisdom 2:23)
As anyone who has suffered the death of a loved one can tell you, loss can be very painful. It's hard to lose someone you love. Your lives have been deeply intertwined, and tearing one away can feel like it will be the end of both. But the truth is that death is not our enemy. God made us for eternal life, and even though it is very difficult to lose someone, our grief speaks to us of our hope for eternal life.
We all experience grief; it's a natural and healthy response to loss. It makes us feel lonely, abandoned, and forgotten. But that's not the end of our story. Grief is a process we go through; it's a phase, not a destination. It is meant to bring us, over time, to peace. As time passes, the hope of heaven shines more and more brightly, and our pain and loss slowly diminish. As we draw closer to the Lord, holding on to the truths of who we are and what we were made for, the veil between this life and the next becomes thinner and thinner—to the point that we begin longing for the Second Coming.
That's why these words from the Book of Wisdom are so comforting. They remind us that heaven is our true home. They tell us that our loved ones are precious to God, and having passed through bodily death, they have the joys of heaven. St. Francis of Assisi proclaimed this as he praised God for "Sister Bodily Death," saying, "Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them."
If you have lost a loved one recently, let today's reading bring you comfort. As you go through the process of grieving, know that the pain won't last forever. Stay close to Jesus, and know that a life lived for him in this world is not all that far from the heavenly life he has in store for you.
"Lord Jesus, I believe that death is not my enemy because you have defeated it! Help me stay close to you so that I can experience your eternal life."
Psalm 34:2-3, 16-19
Count yourself as honored right now. Ok? Count yourself as having been blessed, looked with favor. Why? How can I say that? Because, you have spent this time with the Lord and for the Lord. "But I didn't really get much out of it" some may think. Do you need to see results to be satisfied? Do you need to see how a miracle works to make it valid? No. Because this is the gift of faith. We believe, and believing means blessing. We read today "Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love. Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect." Yours is mercy and grace. You are chosen to read this today. See to it that in every ministry you serve that it is "an honor". If it is a chore, then it is not for Love...for the Lord our Master in Heaven. If it bothers you then leave...leave it to the Lord. Why don't you pray about it? Why don't you be honest with the Lord? Why don't you let Him figure it out? For we are but servants in the Kingdom of the King of Kings!
"I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the LORD;", when our Lord speaks of Glory, many a time it is a sacrificial offering...and ultimately of self to Him. That is why the St. Francis quote we read today speaks of a second death, the first was already an offering to the Lord...one's entire life. The other is a natural death. Notice the term "natural", for the people today are losing the sense of what is natural. It is natural to be human, pro-create naturally, naturally love, and unnatural to hate and kill. This is contrary to blessing the Lord at all times. So what is happening at all times in my soul?