But, though put into form for a special purpose on this occasion, it must have been the issue of long previous thought, as is further evident from the fact that in his Magna Moralia, or Commentary on the Book of Job, begun and in a great measure written during his residence in Constantinople, he had already sketched the plan of such a treatise, and expressed the hope of some day putting it into form. For we there find the prologue to the third book of the Regula already written, together with most of the headings contained in the first chapter of that book, followed by the words, And indeed we ought to have denoted particularly what should be the order of admonition with respect to each of these points; but fear of prolixity deters us. It was sent by him, as we have seen, to Leander of Seville, apparently at the request of the latter, for the benefit of the Church in Spain ; and there will be found among the Epistles one addressed to Gregory from Licinianus, a learned bishop of Carthagena in that country, in which it is highly praised, though a fear is expressed lest the standard required in it of fitness for the episcopal office might prove too high for ordinary attainment Epp. It appears to have been taken to England by the Monk Augustine. This is asserted by Alfred the Great, who, nearly three hundred years afterwards, with the assistance of his divines, made a translation, or rather paraphrase, of it in the West Saxon tongue, intending, as he says, to send a copy to every bishop in his Kingdom.
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But, though put into form for a special purpose on this occasion, it must have been the issue of long previous thought, as is further evident from the fact that in his Magna Moralia, or Commentary on the Book of Job, begun and in a great measure written during his residence in Constantinople, he had already sketched the plan of such a treatise, and expressed the hope of some day putting it into form.
For we there find the prologue to the third book of the Regula already written, together with most of the headings contained in the first chapter of that book, followed by the words, And indeed we ought to have denoted particularly what should be the order of admonition with respect to each of these points; but fear of prolixity deters us. It was sent by him, as we have seen, to Leander of Seville, apparently at the request of the latter, for the benefit of the Church in Spain ; and there will be found among the Epistles one addressed to Gregory from Licinianus, a learned bishop of Carthagena in that country, in which it is highly praised, though a fear is expressed lest the standard required in it of fitness for the episcopal office might prove too high for ordinary attainment Epp.
It appears to have been taken to England by the Monk Augustine. This is asserted by Alfred the Great, who, nearly three hundred years afterwards, with the assistance of his divines, made a translation, or rather paraphrase, of it in the West Saxon tongue, intending, as he says, to send a copy to every bishop in his Kingdom. Previously to this, there is evidence of the high repute in which the book was held in Gaul. In a series of councils held by command of Charlemagne, a.
Similarly at a Council held at Aix-la-Chapelle , a. Further, it appears from a letter of Hincmar , Archbishop of Rheims a. The work is well worthy of its old repute, being the best of its kind, and profitable for all ages. Two similar works had preceded it.
First, that of Gregory Nazianzen c. It is obvious, from comparing the two treatises, that the earlier had suggested the later one; and indeed Pope Gregory acknowledges his indebtedness in his prologue to the second book of the Regula. It also sets forth the awful responsibilities of the episcopal office; but there are no signs of pope Gregory having drawn from it.
It is regarded, indeed, in the first place as an office of government — locus regiminis, culmen regiminis, denote it frequently — and hence the exercise of discipline comes prominently in; and the chief pastor is viewed also as an intercessor between his flock and God — See e.
Gregory had not studied in vain the Pastoral Epistles of St. Remarkable indeed is his own discriminating insight, displayed throughout, into human characters and motives, and his perception of the temptations to which circumstances or temperament render various people — pastors as well as members of their flocks — peculiarly liable.
No less striking, in this as in other works of his, is his intimate acquaintance with the whole of Holy Scripture. He knew it indeed through the Latin version only; his critical knowledge is frequently at fault; and far-fetched mystical interpretations, such as he delighted in, abound.
But as a true expounder of its general moral and religious teaching he well deserves his name as one of the great Doctors of the Church. And, further, notwithstanding all his reverence for Councils and Fathers, as paramount authorities in matters of faith , it is to Scripture that he ever appeals as the final authority for conduct and belief.
Introduction Gregory to his most reverend and most holy brother and fellow- bishop , John. With kind and humble intent you reprove me, dearest brother, for having wished by hiding myself to fly from the burdens of pastoral care; as to which, lest to some they should appear light, I express with my pen in the book before you all my own estimate of their heaviness, in order both that he who is free from them may not unwarily seek them, and that he who has so sought them may tremble for having got them.
For, as the necessity of things requires, we must especially consider after what manner every one should come to supreme rule; and, duly arriving at it, after what manner he should live; and, living well, after what manner he should teach; and, teaching aright, with how great consideration every day he should become aware of his own infirmity; lest either humility fly from the approach, or life be at variance with the arrival, or teaching be wanting to the life, or presumption unduly exalt the teaching.
Wherefore, let fear temper the desire; but afterwards, authority being assumed by one who sought it not, let his life commend it. But then it is necessary that the good which is displayed in the life of the pastor should also be propagated by his speech. And at last it remains that, whatever works are brought to perfection, consideration of our own infirmity should depress us with regard to them, lest the swelling of elation extinguish even them before the eyes of hidden judgment.
But inasmuch as there are many, like me in unskilfulness, who, while they know not how to measure themselves, are covetous of teaching what they have not learned; who estimate lightly the burden of authority in proportion as they are ignorant of the pressure of its greatness; let them be reproved from the very beginning of this book; so that, while, unlearned and precipitate, they desire to hold the citadel of teaching, they may be repelled at the very door of our discourse from the ventures of their precipitancy.
Chapter 1 That the unskilful venture not to approach an office of authority. No one presumes to teach an art till he has first, with intent meditation, learned it. What rashness is it, then, for the unskilful to assume pastoral authority, since the government of souls is the art of arts!
For who can be ignorant that the sores of the thoughts of men are more occult than the sores of the bowels? And yet how often do men who have no knowledge whatever of spiritual precepts fearlessly profess themselves physicians of the heart, though those who are ignorant of the effect of drugs blush to appear as physicians of the flesh! But because, through the ordering of God, all the highest in rank of this present age are inclined to reverence religion, there are some who, through the outward show of rule within the holy Church, affect the glory of distinction.
They desire to appear as teachers, they covet superiority to others, and, as the Truth attests, they seek the first salutations in the market-place, the first rooms at feasts, the first seats in assemblies Matthew , being all the less able to administer worthily the office they have undertaken of pastoral care, as they have reached the magisterial position of humility out of elation only.
For, indeed, in a magisterial position language itself is confounded when one thing is learned and another taught. Against such the Lord complains by the prophet , saying, They have reigned, and not by Me; they have been set up as princes, and I knew it not Hosea For those reign of themselves, and not by the Will of the Supreme Ruler, who, supported by no virtues , and in no way divinely called, but inflamed by their own desire, seize rather than attain supreme rule.
But them the Judge within both advances, and yet knows not; for whom by permission he tolerates them surely by the judgment of reprobation he ignores. Whence to some who come to Him even after miracles He says, Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity, I know you not who you are Luke The unskilfulness of shepherds is rebuked by the voice of the Truth, when it is said through the prophet , The shepherds themselves have not known understanding Isaiah ; whom again the Lord denounces, saying, And they that handle the law knew Me not Jeremiah And therefore the Truth complains of not being known of them, and protests that He knows not the principality of those who know not Him; because in truth these who know not the things of the Lord are unknown of the Lord; as Paul attests, who says, But if any man knows not, he shall not be known 1 Corinthians Yet this unskilfulness of the shepherds doubtless suits often the deserts of those who are subject to them, because, though it is their own fault that they have not the light of knowledge , yet it is in the dealing of strict judgment that through their ignorance those also who follow them should stumble.
Hence it is that, in the Gospel , the Truth in person says, If the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch Matthew Hence the Psalmist not expressing his own desire, but in his ministry as a prophet denounces such, when he says, Let their eyes be blinded that they see not, and ever bow down their back Psalm For, indeed, those persons are eyes who, placed in the very face of the highest dignity, have undertaken the office of spying out the road; while those who are attached to them and follow them are denominated backs.
And so, when the eyes are blinded, the back is bent, because, when those who go before lose the light of knowledge , those who follow are bowed down to carry the burden of their sins. Chapter 2 That none should enter on a place of government who practise not in life what they have learned by study.
There are some also who investigate spiritual precepts with cunning care, but what they penetrate with their understanding they trample on in their lives: all at once they teach the things which not by practice but by study they have learned; and what in words they preach by their manners they impugn. Whence it comes to pass that when the shepherd walks through steep places, the flock follows to the precipice.
Hence it is that the Lord through the prophet complains of the contemptible knowledge of shepherds, saying, When you yourselves had drunk most pure water, you fouled the residue with your feet; and My sheep fed on that which had been trodden by your feet, and drank that which your feet had fouled Ezekiel For indeed the shepherds drink most pure water, when with a right understanding they imbibe the streams of truth.
But to foul the same water with their feet is to corrupt the studies of holy meditation by evil living. And verily the sheep drink the water fouled by their feet, when any of those subject to them follow not the words which they hear, but only imitate the bad examples which they see. Thirsting for the things said, but perverted by the works observed, they take in mud with their draughts, as from polluted fountains.
Hence also it is written through the prophet , A snare for the downfall of my people are evil priests Hosea ; Hence again the Lord through the prophet says of the priests , They are made to be for a stumbling-block of iniquity to the house of Israel. For certainly no one does more harm in the Church than one who has the name and rank of sanctity , while he acts perversely.
For him, when he transgresses, no one presumes to take to task; and the offense spreads forcibly for example, when out of reverence to his rank the sinner is honoured. But all who are unworthy would fly from the burden of so great guilt, if with the attentive ear of the heart they weighed the sentence of the Truth, Whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea Matthew By the millstone is expressed the round and labour of worldly life, and by the depth of the sea is denoted final damnation.
Whosoever, then, having come to bear the outward show of sanctity , either by word or example destroys others, it had indeed been better for him that earthly deeds in open guise should press him down to death than that sacred offices should point him out to others as imitable in his wrong-doing; because, surely, if he fell alone, the pains of hell would torment him in more tolerable degree.
Chapter 3 Of the weight of government; and that all manner of adversity is to be despised, and prosperity feared. So much, then, have we briefly said, to show how great is the weight of government, lest whosoever is unequal to sacred offices of government should dare to profane them, and through lust of pre-eminence undertake a leadership of perdition.
For hence it is that James affectionately deters us, saying, Be not made many masters, my brethren James Hence the Mediator between God and man Himself — He who, transcending the knowledge and understanding even of supernal spirits, reigns in heaven from eternity — on earth fled from receiving a kingdom.
For it is written, When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into the mountain Himself alone John For who could so blamelessly have had principality over men as He who would in fact have reigned over those whom He had Himself created?
But, because He had come in the flesh to this end, that He might not only redeem us by His passion but also teach us by His conversation, offering Himself as an example to His followers, He would not be made a king; but He went of His own accord to the gibbet of the cross. For commonly in the school of adversity the heart is subdued under discipline, while, on sudden attainment of supreme rule, it is immediately changed and becomes elated through familiarity with glory. Thus Saul, who had before fled in consideration of his unworthiness, no sooner had assumed the government of the kingdom than he was puffed up 1 Kings ; ; for, desirous of being honoured before the people while unwilling to be publicly blamed, he cut off from himself even him who had anointed him to the kingdom.
Thus David, who in the judgment of Him who chose him was well pleasing to Him in almost all his deeds , as soon as the weight of pressure was removed, broke out into a swelling sore 2 Kings , seq, and, having been as a laxly running one in his appetite for the woman , became as a cruelly hard one in the slaughter of the man; and he who had before known pitifully how to spare the bad learned afterwards, without impediment of hesitation, to pant even for the death of the good 2 Kings For, indeed, previously he had been unwilling to smite his captured persecutor; and afterwards, with loss to his wearied army, he destroyed even his devoted soldier.
And in truth his crime would have snatched him farther away from the number of the elect , had not scourges called him back to pardon. Chapter 4 That for the most part the occupation of government dissipates the solidity of the mind. Often the care of government, when undertaken, distracts the heart in various directions; and one is found unequal to dealing with particular things, while with confused mind divided among many.
Whence a certain wise man providently dissuades, saying, My son, meddle not with many matters Sirach ; because, that is, the mind is by no means collected on the plan of any single work while parted among various.
And, when it is drawn abroad by unwonted care, it is emptied of the solidity of inward fear : it becomes anxious in the ordering of things that are without, and, ignorant of itself alone, knows how to think of many things, while itself it knows not. For, when it implicates itself more than is needful in things that are without, it is as though it were so occupied during a journey as to forget where it was going; so that, being estranged from the business of self-examination, it does not even consider the losses it is suffering, or know how great they are.
For neither did Hezekiah believe himself to be sinning 2 Kings , when he showed to the strangers who came to him his storehouses of spices; but he fell under the anger of the judge, to the condemnation of his future offspring, from what he supposed himself to be doing lawfully Isaiah Often, when means are abundant, and many things can be done for subordinates to admire, the mind exalts itself in thought, and fully provokes to itself the anger of the judge, though not breaking out in overt acts of iniquity.
For he who judges is within; that which is judged is within. When, then, in heart we transgress, what we are doing within ourselves is hidden from men. For he had already wiped off the fault of the pride he had been guilty of, when he proclaimed to all the nations under him the omnipotent God whom he found himself to have offended.
But after this, elevated by the success of his dominion, and rejoicing in having done great things, he first preferred himself to all in thought, and afterwards, still vain- glorious , said, Is not this great Babylon , that I have built for the house of the kingdom, and in the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? Daniel Which utterance of his, as we see, fell openly under the vengeance of the wrath which his hidden elation kindled. For the strict judge first sees invisibly what he afterwards reproves by publicly smiting it.
Hence him He turned even into an irrational animal, separated him from human society, changed his mind and joined him to the beasts of the field, that in obviously strict and just judgment he who had esteemed himself great beyond men should lose even his being as a man.
Now in adducing these things we are not finding fault with dominion, but guarding the infirmity of the heart from coveting it, lest any that are imperfect should venture to snatch at supreme rule, or those who stumble on plain ground set foot on a precipice.
Chapter 5 Of those who are able to profit others by virtuous example in supreme rule, but fly from it in pursuit of their own ease. For there are some who are eminently endowed with virtues , and for the training of others are exalted by great gifts, who are pure in zeal for chastity , strong in the might of abstinence, filled with the feasts of doctrine, humble in the long-suffering of patience, erect in the fortitude of authority, tender in the grace of loving-kindness, strict in the severity of justice.
For hence it was that the Truth said to His disciples , A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid: neither do they light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house Matthew John ; and he, when he had at once answered that he loved, was told, If you love Me, feed My sheep. If, then, the care of feeding is the proof of loving, whosoever abounds in virtues , and yet refuses to feed the flock of God, is convicted of not loving the chief Shepherd.
Hence Paul says, If Christ died for all, then all died. And if He died for all, it remains that they which live should now no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again 2 Corinthians Hence Moses says Deuteronomy that a surviving brother shall take to him the wife of a brother who has died without children, and beget children to the name of his brother; and that, if he haply refuse to take her, the woman shall spit in his face, and her kinsman shall loose the shoe from off one of his feet, and call his habitation the house of him that has his shoe loosed.
Now the deceased brother is He who, after the glory of the resurrection, said, Go tell My brethren Matthew For He died as it were without children, in that He had not yet filled up the number of His elect.
Pastoral Rule (Book I)
Regula Pastoralis For the general phrase concerning responsibilities of the clergy, see Pastoral care. Liber Regulae Pastoralis or Regula Pastoralis The Book of the Pastoral Rule, commonly known in English as "Pastoral Care", a translation of the alternative Latin title Cura Pastoralis is a treatise on the responsibilities of the clergy written by Pope Gregory I around the year , shortly after his papal inauguration. It became one of the most influential works on the topic ever written. The title was that used by Gregory when sending a copy to his friend Leander of Seville.
But, though put into form for a special purpose on this occasion, it must have been the issue of long previous thought, as is further evident from the fact that in his Magna Moralia, or Commentary on the Book of Job, begun and in a great measure written during his residence in Constantinople, he had already sketched the plan of such a treatise, and expressed the hope of some day putting it into form. It was sent by him, as we have seen, to Leander of Seville, apparently at the request of the latter, for the benefit of the Church in Spain; and there will be found among the Epistles one addressed to Gregory from Licinianus, a learned bishop of Carthagena in that country, in which it is highly praised, though a fear is expressed lest the standard required in it of fitness for the episcopal office might prove too high for ordinary attainment Epp. It appears to have been taken to England by the Monk Augustine. Previously to this, there is evidence of the high repute in which the book was held in Gaul.
Troyes End of the 6th or beginning of the 7th cent. In uncials and majuscules. Migne, no. Corvey no. Codex Corbeiensis, Migne, no.
Post exegetica in Scripturam sacram primo tomo comprehensa, in hoc secundo complexi sumus reliqua indubitatae fidel Gregoriana opera, omnis interpolationis expertia, cujuscunque sint generis: sive apologetica, pro detrectato curae pastoralis onere; sive historica, nimirum Dialogos; sive dogmatica, et canonica, Registrum videlicet Epistolarum, quibus universum pene jus canonicum continetur. Ut autem ab apologetico libro Regulae Pastoralis tomum hunc secundum auspicaremur, multa persuaserunt; praesertim Opusculi antiquitas, praestantia et utilitas. Primo quidem scriptum esse ante Dialogos, Epistolarumque Registrum, in ipso sui pontificatus exordio, non obscure testatur ipse sanctus Doctor, in epist. Secundo, ex omnibus sancti Gregorii lucubrationibus nulla est praestantior, sive totius operis ordo et oeconomia, sive sententiarum copia pondusque perpendantur. Tertio, nihil est in toto illo libello plane aureo, quod maximam non afferat utilitatem, non solum episcopis aliisque animarum pastoribus et rectoribus; sed etiam omnibus et singulis Christianis, maxime quibus regendae familiae cura incumbit. Hinc ab universis tam Graecis quam Latinis avide expetitus, magno plausu exceptus est. Hunc sanctus Leander Hispalensis episcopus ab amico Gregorio sibi directum exosculatus est, ac in omnibus Hispaniarum Ecclesiis evulgavit.