Feast of St. Gregory the Great
"He opened his treasures and made him rich in all goodness. " That is the antiphon at the beginning of today’s liturgy. Do I believe and trust in the reality that God opens The Treasure for all of us?
I enjoy reading about these saints, like Gregory, because they model how The Treasure makes life rich…for others. Gregory was born into a well-to-do family. As an adult he was positioned to become a chief magistrate in Rome, which gave him lucrative opportunities. But that was not enough. There was more in The Treasure. He knew that. He wanted to pursue that treasure. So he became a Benedictine monk. He left it all, and opened a treasure which eventually would lead him to the papacy at 50 years old. But prior to that he literally gave away his wealth by building monasteries and inviting men, and later, women to join the search for The Treasure. The Treasure is never exhausted. There is always more to our lives. During the 14 years of his papacy he addressed such issues as the starvation among the poor in Rome, protecting the Jews from persecution and the building of better (not belligerent) relations with other monarchies, which could have been bitter enemies, due to the crushing dominance of the Roman Empire.
St. Paul prays that we are filled with the knowledge of God’s will, to bear fruit in every good work. To be "filled" means to accept the Knower inside of me.
That knowledge comes from deep within. It is not earned or acquired or taught. It is The Knower within us. The Knower was in Jesus when he told the apostles to put out into the deep water. The Knower was in them that they should do this, even though it went against common sense.
Grace is Jesus’ knowledge dwelling in us. Jesus’ knowledge is translated into our actions. We are not to worry about our own unworthiness (like Peter). It is all about catching people. Do you believe? Gregory’s generosity brought men and women into holiness through the monasteries which he built. This tradition last to this day. Talk about The Treasure never ending.
Is it possible that our God provides the knowledge for us to bring others to an understanding of the Knower present in all of us? One practical way of doing that is to remind one another that nothing is just accidental, or coincidental, but providential. It is all about the Treasure and the Knower opening the richness therein, for the sake of doing good today. It’s all providential. Trust the Knower within and help others to do the same. That’s the catch.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, Birmingham, Alabama.