One Minute Reflection – 9 May – The Memorial of St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Bishop, Confessor, Father and Doctor of the Church – Sirach 39:6-14, Matthew 5:13-19
“You are the light of the world.” – Matthew 5:14
REFLECTION – “I shall always love and reverence the Apostles sent by Christ and their successors, in sowing the seed of the Gospel, those zealous and tireless co-operators in propagating the Word, who may justly say of themselves: Let a man so account of us as the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. For Christ, like a most watchful and most faithful householder, wished that the Gospel lamp should be lighted by such ministers and delegates, with fire sent down from Heaven and once lighted, should not be put under a measure but set upon a candlestick, so that it may spread its brightness far and wide and put to flight, all darkness and error, rife among both Jews and Gentiles.
Now it is not enough for the Gospel teacher to be a brilliant speaker in the eyes of the people; he must also be as a voice crying in the desert and endeavour, by his eloquence, to help many to lead good lives, lest, if he omit his duty of speaking, he be called the dumb dog that is not able to bark, spoken of by the prophet. Yes, he should also burn, in such a way, that, equipped with good works and love, he may adorn his evangelical office and follow the leadership of Paul. He indeed was not satisfied with bidding the Bishop of the Ephesians: This command and teach: conduct thyself in work as a good soldier of Christ Jesus but he unflaggingly preached the Gospel to friend and foe alike and, said with a good conscience to the Bishops gathered at Ephesus: You know how I have kept back nothing that was for your good but have declared it to you and taught you in public and from house to house, urging Jews and Gentiles to turn to God in repentance and to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Such should be the shepherd in the Church who, like Paul, becomes all things to all men, so that the sick may find healing in him; the sad, joy; the desperate, hope; the ignorant, instruction; those in doubt, advice; the penitent, forgiveness and comfort and finally, everyone, whatever is necessary for salvation. And so Christ, when He wished to appoint the chief teachers of the world and of the Church, did not limit Himself to saying to His disciples: You are the light of the world but also added these words: A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a measure but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all who are in the house. Those churchmen err, who imagine that it is by brilliant preaching, rather than by holiness of and all-embracing love, they fulfil their office.” – St Peter Canisius SJ (1521-1597) Doctor of the Church (Sermon excerpt).
PRAYER – O God, Who gave to Your people, blessed Gregory, as a minister of salvation, grant, we beseech You, that we, who cherished him on earth as a teacher of life, may be found worthy to have him as an intercessor in Heaven. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).