Paven er “servus servorum Dei”

Jeg leste i dag tidlig på om onsdagsaudiensen i Vatikanet i går. Pave Benedikt hadde som tema pave Gregor den store, som var stor fordi han var ydmyk – han var alltid i sitt eget hjerte en enkel munk.

Benedict XVI recalled that the expression «servus servorum Dei» (Servant of the servants of God) was coined by Gregory, not as a «pious formula in his mouth, but the true manifestation of his way of living and acting.»

«He was profoundly impressed by the humility of God,» commented the Pontiff, «who in Christ made himself our slave; he washed and washes our dirty feet.»

The Pope said Gregory was convinced that a bishop «must imitate this humility of God and, for love of God, be able to make himself the servant of all in a time full of tribulations and sufferings, to make himself the ‘servant of the servants.'»

«Precisely because he was this,» added the Holy Father, «he is great and shows us also the measure of true greatness.»

Before briefly considering St. Gregory’s «rich teaching,» Benedict XVI noted that Gregory «never seems concerned to delineate ‘his’ doctrine, his originality. Instead, he seeks to echo the traditional teaching of the Church, he wishes simply to be the mouth of Christ and of his Church on the way that must be followed to reach God.»

Reading Scripture

«Exemplary in this respect are his exegetical comments,» continued the Holy Father . «He was a passionate reader of sacred Scripture, which he approached not only with speculative understanding. He thought that from sacred Scripture the Christian must distill not just theoretical knowledge, but also daily nourishment for his soul, for his life as a man in this world.»

Commenting on the Homilies on Ezekiel, Benedict XVI said Gregory «energetically underlines this function of [sacred Scripture]: To approach Scripture simply to satisfy one’s desire to know, means to give in to the temptation of pride and thus expose oneself to the risk of falling into heresy. Intellectual humility is the main rule for one who seeks to penetrate supernatural realities flowing from the sacred book.

«Humility, obviously, does not exclude serious study; but in order to make this result in spiritual profit, consenting to truly enter into the profundity of the text, humility remains indispensable.»

In the Moral Commentary on Jo b, Gregory «traces for the authentic believer a complete plan of life,» said Benedict XVI. «The moral ideal, he comments, consists in achieving always a harmonious integration between word and action, thought and commitment, prayer and dedication to the duties of one’s state: This is the road to attain that synthesis thanks to which the divine descends into man and man is raised to identification with God.»


The Pope said the Homilies on the Gospel «are also of noteworthy relevance and beauty.»

He continued, «The inspirational principle, which links together the various addresses, is summarized in the word ‘praedicator’: Not only the minister of God, but also every Christian, has the duty to make himself a ‘preacher’ of what he has experienced in his own interior, following the example of Christ who became man to take to all the proclamation of salvation.

«The horizon of this commitment i s eschatological: The expectation of fulfillment in Christ of all things is a constant thought of the great Pontiff and ends by being the inspirational motive of his every thought and activity. From here flow his incessant calls to vigilance and commitment to good works.»

Benedict XVI called the Pastoral Rule the «most organic text» of Gregory the Great, which he wrote during the first years of his pontificate.

«In it Gregory intends to delineate the figure of the ideal bishop, teacher and guide of his flock,» said the Pontiff. «To this end he illustrates the gravity of the office of pastor of the Church and the duties it entails: Therefore, those who are called to such a task were not called and did not search for it superficially, those instead who assume it without due reflection feel arising in their spirit an onerous trepidation.»

In the Dialogues, continued the Holy Father, Gregory demonstrates that «holiness is always possible, even in difficult times.»

«He proves it by recounting the life of contemporary and recently deceased persons, who can well be considered saints, even if not canonized,» said the Pope. «The account is accompanied by theological and mystical reflections that make the book a singular hagiographic text, able to fascinate whole generations of readers.»

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