Year after year, I can come back to the second reading assigned for the Office of his memorial and draw inspiration for my own life as a bishop from Pope St. Gregory the Great:
"‘Son of man, I have appointed you as watchman to the house of Israel.’ Note that Ezekiel, whom the Lord sent to preach his word, is described as a watchman. Now a watchman always takes up his position on the heights so that he can see from a distance whatever approaches. Likewise whoever is appointed watchman to a people should live a life on the heights so that he can help them by taking a wide survey.
These words are hard to utter, for when I speak it is myself that I am reproaching. I do not preach as I should nor does my life follow the principles I preach so inadequately...
Who am I — what kind of watchman am I? I do not stand on the pinnacle of achievement, I languish rather in the depths of my weakness. And yet the creator and redeemer of mankind can give me, unworthy though I be, the grace to see life whole and power to speak effectively of it. It is for love of him that I do not spare myself in preaching him." [from a sermon of St Gregory the Great]
The penultimate sentence thunders through for me this year and I hope it would for all who have and share in the preaching office: And yet the creator and redeemer of mankind can give me, unworthy though I be, the grace to see life whole and power to speak effectively of it.
I like the English expression: "to see life whole". What could be better! Happy Feast of the Great Gregory!