He was just standing there, not doing anything special. As a Syrian priest he must have felt a little out of place among the Roman people mourning that day for the dead Pope. As a good preacher, he must have wanted to speak to the funeral procession about Christ's promise of resurrection. As a learned man, he must have wondered who would follow the holy Saint Gregory II as Pope and where he would take the Church. As a holy man, he must have been praying for Gregory II and for all the people around him to find their place after death in God's arms. But he was just one of the crowd.
Not to God. And not to the people who recognized the well-known holy man in their midst. Right in the middle of the funeral procession they singled him out. They swept him away and clamored for him to be named the next bishop of Rome. Then suddenly, unexpectedly, without his even lifting a finger, his whole life changed and he could no longer just stand there and do nothing.
After he was proclaimed Pope Gregory III, Emperor Leo III attacked the veneration of holy images. Because Leo III thought the honor paid to Jesus, Mary, and the saints by keeping statues and icons was idolatry, he condemned them and wanted them destroyed. Gregory III didn't just stand there but immediately sent a letter to Leo III. He couldn't get the letter through because the priest-messenger was afraid to deliver it. So instead, Gregory called a synod that approved strong measures against anyone who would try to destroy images of Jesus, Mary, or the saints.
Gregory took his stand and Leo III apparently thought the only way to move him was through physical force. So Leo sent ships to kidnap Gregory and bring him to Constantinople. Many people in Rome must have tried to get Gregory to move -- but he just stood there. And once again God intervened. A storm destroyed Leo's ships. The only thing Leo could do was capture some of the papal lands.
So Leo got a few acres of land and we kept our wonderful reminders of the love of God, the protection of Jesus, the prayers of Mary, and the examples of the saints. All because Gregory knew when to take a stand -- and when to stand there and let God work.Gregory III was Pope from 731-741.
In His Footsteps: Where in your life do you need to take a stand? Take a stand: The next time you here someone say something that indicates religious, racial, gender, or any other kind of prejudice, take a stand and make it clear that such prejudice is not tolerated by God or God's people.
Prayer: Saint Gregory III, it's hard to stand still and wait for God to do his work. Sometimes I doubt God's providence. I'm afraid that God's plan won't work out unless I push it along. Help me, when I'm confused, to stop, pray, and wait for God. Amen
It would be easy to concentrate on the mystical experiences God gave this saint, rather than on her life. In fact, it would be difficult to do differently, so overwhelming were those gifts from God. ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was aware that Clement VII was offering her a great honor and a great opportunity to serve when he asked her to take charge of a religious order of nursing sisters. But Angela knew that nursing was not what God ... continue readingMore Female Saints
St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading
The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading
St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Feast day-July 15) St. Bonaventure, known as "the seraphic doctor," was born at Bagnorea in Tuscany, in 1221. He received the name of ... continue reading
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes