Today the Church commemorates the sixth-century bishop of Rome, Gregory the Great, Pastor. Our devotional reading comes from Celebrating the Saints.
Gregory, even as a deacon and presbyter, had a great heart for mission work. Due to his determination, the Gospel’s proclamation was strengthened in England. He had noted a young lad in the marketplace for sale and remarked upon his beautiful countenance. He asked from whence he came and whether his people were Christians or still heathen. Upon finding that they were heathen, he asked the name of their race. “Angles” he was told, upon which he remarked that it was fitting, for they have angelic faces. He wished the country to be delivered from God’s wrath and brought into the unity of the catholic faith. Toward that end, he begged the pope (this was before his own elevation) for leave to preach the Gospel in that land. The pope, however, was not about to lose his right-hand man. It would fall to St. Augustine of Canterbury to preach the Gospel and begin organizing the Church among the Germanic tribes that had invaded and largely displaced the original Britons.
Gregory is remembered also for bringing order and discipline to the music of the Latin Church, for adding the Lord’s Prayer to the order of service in the Roman Church (bringing it into conformity with wider Christian practice), and for writing The Pastoral Office, a handbook on the ministry that continued in use for a millennium.
Devotional reading is adapted from Celebrating the Saints by William C. Weedon, page 162–63 © 2016 William C. Weedon; published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Almighty and merciful God, You raised up Gregory of Rome to be a pastor to those who shepherd God’s flock and inspired him to send missionaries to preach the Gospel to the English people. Preserve in Your Church the catholic and apostolic faith that Your people may continue to be fruitful in every good work and receive the crown of glory that never fades away; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Prayer is from the Treasury of Daily Prayer, page 687 © 2012 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.