Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gregory the Great on Job

I've started re-reading the book of Job and was looking for a patristic commentary on it and I found out that Pope St. Gregory the Great, who according to Calvin was 'the last good pope', wrote a commentary on Job. I couldn't find it on Newadvent or any other site, but I finally found it here:,_SS_Gregorius_I_Magnus,_Moralia_in_Job,_EN.doc and it's like 177 pages. Right now I'm about 500 pages behind on reading for school, but I'd like to try and read it alongside Job. It could be fun.
I like the introduction to it already, it's really honest about his life and reminds me a bit of St. Augustine's Confessions:
"I had long fended off the grace that would convert me, and how even after I was touched by the longing for heaven I chose to stay hidden beneath worldly garb. I had already been shown the love of eternity that should fill my desires, but the chains of long-bred habit kept me from altering my outer way of life. While my heart forced me to go on serving this world (at least to all appearances) many worldly pressures began to arise that threatened to bind me to this world not in appearance only but (what is more burdensome) in mind as well. Finally I fled all that in my anxiety and sought the cloister's harbor. I thought, in vain as it turned out, that I had finally abandoned the things of the world and come to shore naked from the shipwreck that is this life. But often a storm arises and the waves blast a carelessly moored ship away from even the safest port. Thus suddenly I found myself, under cover of Holy Orders, back on the sea of secular affairs."
It's this kind of description which reminds me of how the monastic movement started, out of a sincere devotion to God. Ultimately anyone familiar with late medieval history will realize the dream eventually turned into a nightmare and in many places monasteries were quite corrupt. In any case, this is quite a story I hope I eventually get to read.


  1. In the midst of all the heavy amount of reading you the next year you should read Hilaire Belloc's "How the Reformation Happened". It will give you the other (and almost never heard) view on the monasteries (I also recommend Woods' "How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization....awesome book).

  2. Ahh Belloc, the James White of Catholicism.