Many Catholics claim that the Catholic Church is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. But those who know the history of the Church find it harder to make such a sweeping claim. Over two millennia, times of peace and unity have been few and far between.
Pope Gregory I, known to the ages as Gregory the Great, lived during a time of political and ecclesiastical turmoil. Yet he worked tirelessly to assure the rights of the Church, and through his missionary work, his writings on theology and morality, and his liturgical reforms (Gregorian chant is named after him, and the Traditional Latin Mass took shape during his reign), Gregory shaped the medieval Church for centuries to come. (Little wonder, then that Gregory the Great was acknowledged as one of the four original Latin Doctors of the Church.)
Today, during a similar time of turmoil, the Church is blessed with another scholar and liturgist who has a similar devotion to missionary work. And so, as we prepare for Saint Gregory's feast day on September 3, I've chosen as our novena this week this Prayer to Saint Gregory, Pope and Confessor, which we offer for the defense of the Church and Pope Benedict XVI against the powers of darkness, both spiritual and human. Begin this novena on August 25 to complete it on the eve of Gregory the Great's feast. And while you're praying the novena, if you haven't already, please show your support for Pope Benedict XVI.
(Portrait of Pope Gregory I by Meister Theoderich von Prag. Public domain.)