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Contemplative Preachers in a Troubled World

Contemplative Preachers in a Troubled World
Image: Oliver Rossi / Getty

He lived in a time much like our chaotic age. A time of social unrest, high inflation, rural decay, panic, rioting, and a crumbling political order. (Sounds familiar, right?) In the late 6th century, while preaching a massive series through the prophet Ezekiel, he told his fragile flock:

Now the world is a barren desert … Everywhere there is death, mourning, desolation; we are struck on every side, on every side we are filled with anguish; and yet with blind minds we love the bitterness of the things our flesh desires. We pursue what is fleeting, we cling to what is failing … Once the world held us with its delights; now it is so full of woes, that the world itself calls us to God.

His name was Gregory the Great, a man with a magnanimous mind and heart for God. Although he lived in urgent days, Gregory never lost the source of power and depth in his preaching—the practice of contemplative prayer. One biographer called him “a contemplative in a troubled world.” ...

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