As 6th century Rome started to fall apart and he became pope, St. Gregory the Great wrote one of his great scriptural commentaries called the Moralia, or a Commentary on the Book of Job. Gregory ends his commentary with some humble words that reveal someone who is not afraid to know himself. He’s a humble man, and we need humble leaders today. I simplify his words, not distorting them, I hope:
“Now that I have finished this work, I have to look at myself. We are so complex, even when we try speaking the truth. Let me go from the forum of words to the senate house of my heart, to take council about myself.
I don’t want to speak anything evil or speak poorly about what is good.
I wish my words please the One is good. Yet, can I claim I have spoken no evil at all? Have I spoken less well than I should, perhaps? When I look within, pushing aside leafy words and branches of arguments, and examine my deepest intentions, I know I intend to please God, but has some desire for human praise crept in? Has it intruded into my simple desire to please God?
Later, much later, I may realize this. Often, our intentions to please God are joined by a secret yen for human praise. Self-righteously, we even use God’s gifts to please others.
So in my commentary I reveal God’s gifts, but let me confess my wounds too. Let me instruct the little ones by my words, but let others take pity on my weakness. I offer help to some and seek help from others. As I tell some what to do, I open my heart to others to admit what they should forgive. I give medicine to some, but do not hide my wounds from others. My reader will have more than paid me back if, for what he hears from me, he offers his tears for me.”