10 November – Memorial for St. Leo the Great, Pope, Doctor
Leo (c.400 – 461) was born of Italian nobility. He was a strong student, especially in scripture and theology. As a priest, he was an eloquent writer and homilist.
He was pope from 440-461 during the time of the invasion of Attila the Hun. When Attila marched on Rome, Leo went out to meet him and pleaded for leave. As Leo spoke, Attila saw the vision of a man in priestly robes, carrying a bare sword, and threatening to kill the invader if he did not obey Pope Leo. As Leo had a great devotion to St. Peter, it is generally believed that the first pope was the visionary opponent to the Huns. When Genseric invaded Rome, Leo’s sanctity and eloquence saved the city again.
Pope Leo called the Council of Chalcedon to condemn the heresies of the day, which were Nestorianism (Christ as a human person joined to the divine person of God’s Son), Monophysitism (Christ’s human nature ceases to exist when the divine person of God’s Son assumed it), Manichaeism (Gnostic system resting on a dualistic concept of the world’s structure), and Pelaianism (no supernatural grace is needed for one to choose good).
He built churches and wrote letters and sermons encouraging and teaching the flock, many of which survive today. It is for these writings that Leo was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1574.
“Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife.” – Pope St. Leo the Great
– Patron Saint Index
I am so delighted, and comforted, to know of your love; they tell me, brother, how you have put new heart into the saints.
Now, although in Christ I can have no diffidence about telling you to do whatever is your duty, I am appealing to your love instead, reminding you that this is Paul writing, an old man now and, what is more, still a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus. He was of no use to you before, but he will be useful to you now, as he has been to me. I am sending him back to you, and with him – I could say – a part of my own self. I should have liked to keep him with me; he could have been a substitute for you, to help me while I am in the chains that the Good News has brought me. However, I did not want to do anything without your consent; it would have been forcing your act of kindness, which should be spontaneous. I know you have been deprived of Onesimus for a time, but it was only so that you could have him back for ever, not as a slave any more, but something much better than a slave, a dear brother; especially dear to me, but how much more to you, as a blood-brother as well as a brother in the Lord. So if all that we have in common means anything to you, welcome him as you would me; but if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, then let me pay for it. I am writing this in my own handwriting: I, Paul, shall pay it back – I will not add any mention of your own debt to me, which is yourself. Well then, brother, I am counting on you, in the Lord; put new heart into me, in Christ.
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, “Look here! Look there!” For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.’
He said to the disciples, ‘A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or, “Look here!” Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when his day comes. But first he must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.’
“The Lord will reign forever…”
Growing up, I was brought to live with my grandaunt from the time I was a few months old. At that time in the 1970s, divorce was not common and I had a hard time growing up away from my parents. While I loved my grandaunt and I knew she loved me, I was looking forward and imagining the day I could move back home to live with my dad.
Over the years, I was to get only a few occasions to spend time with my dad and, to be totally honest, I was disappointed on many of these occasions as he did not turn up, or turned up very late.
Ultimately, it came to pass that I never went back to live with him.
The period with my grandaunt, however, allowed me to experience the love that would have been lacking had my desire to live with my father been met. While I could not see it then, not leaving her was the best for me.
So it was in the gospel of today. The Israelites of day were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, when He was already in their midst. That was the message that Jesus was pointing out to them. Similarly, for us, while we are waiting for our Lord to come back again (or what is known as perousia), we need to be mindful that our God is already present here with us, through the Holy Spirit, and that we need to live our lives as such.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Lord, allow us to have the grace to recognise your presence amongst us. Help us to always be open to the Spirit and for us to always live our faith everyday.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for gifting us to experience you today. We are truly grateful that we are able to journey with you and that you always reach out to us, allowing us to walk closer with you.