The lovely first reading for today’s liturgy in honor of Pope Saint Gregory the Great is from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, and concludes:
We do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Christ Jesus (2 Cor 4: 5&6).
Appropriating that glory in our bodies, minds, and hearts is a life-long task. And we the Church, the body of Christ, strive to assist one another in that appropriation.
Peggy Steinfels’ link to Dan Barry’s column yesterday is an example of such mutual assistance. As is the book I’ve been reading and appreciating for its wisdom and common sense: Michael Casey’s Fully Human, Fully Divine.
Casey in one of his chapters offers this reflection from Gregory the Great:
The Lord has instructed us who come to him that we renounce what we own, because whoever among us comes to the contest of faith must assume the task of wrestling against malign spirits. Now these malign spirits possess nothing of their own in this world. We must be naked to wrestle with a naked opponent.
If someone is wearing clothes when wrestling with a naked opponent, there is something to grab and so he is quickly thrown to the ground. All who hasten to wrestle with the devil must strip off their clothes or they will succumb. They may possess by love none of the delights of passing things lest this desire that covers them be grabbed and so cause them to take a fall.