MEDITATION OF THE DAY
Happy to Oblige
God has seen fit to honor me this day, dearly beloved. In raising my lowliness to the highest rank, he has furnished proof that he scorns none of his own. It is an act of devotion, therefore, to take joy in receiving the gift, even though one cannot help but tremble for lack of deserving it. For, the same one who bestows the honor also helps in the exercise of it; the same one who has conferred the dignity will give strength as well, to keep the weak from giving out under the weight of grace….
I have true cause to rejoice for the glory of God. He has pardoned much so that he might be loved much by me. In order to make his grace marvelous, God has bestowed his gifts on one in whom he found no endorsement of merits…. Therefore, proclaim the greatness of the Lord with me, dearly beloved, and let us extol his name together. That way, the whole reason for today’s celebration may be referred back to the praise of its source…. I feel that in the midst of so many saints the hosts of angels are among us…since here at hand, together at the same time and shining with one light, are so many very beautiful tabernacles of God, so many very outstanding members of Christ’s body.
Neither, I am sure, does the most blessed apostle Peter withhold his approval and faithful love from this gathering. Nor has he himself forsaken your devotion, since it is reverence for him that has brought you together. He too rejoices in your affection…. He approves the very well-ordered charity of the entire Church, which receives as Peter the one who occupies his see and which does not grow lukewarm in its love for so great a shepherd, not even in the person of so inferior an heir. Therefore, dearly beloved, let this homage that all of you show toward my lowliness bring to fruition its zeal.
Saint Leo the Great
Saint Leo the Great († 461) reigned as pope from 440 to 461 and is a Doctor of the Church. This text is from a sermon on the anniversary of his election to the papacy. [From St. Leo the Great Sermons, The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 93, Jane Patricia Freeland & Agnes Josephine Conway, Trs. © 1996, The Catholic University of America Press, Washington, DC. Used with permission.]