From the Moral
Reflections on Job by Saint Gregory the Great
The law of the Lord
ove’s lively concern for
others is reflected in all the virtues. It begins with two commands, but it soon
embraces many more. Saint Paul gives a good summary of its various aspects. Love is
patient, he says, and kind; it is never jealous or conceited; its conduct is
blameless; it is not ambitious, not selfish, not quick to take offense; it harbours
no evil thoughts, does not gloat over other people’s sins, but is gladdened by an
The man ruled by this love shows
his patience by bearing wrongs with equanimity; his kindness by generously repaying good
for evil. Jealousy is foreign to him. It is impossible to envy worldly success when he
has no worldly desires. He is not conceited. The prizes he covets lie within; outward
blessings do not elate him. His conduct is blameless, for he cannot do wrong in devoting
himself entirely to love of God and his neighbour. He is not ambitious. The welfare of
his own soul is what he cares about. Apart from that he seeks nothing. He is not selfish.
Unable to keep anything he has in this world, he is as indifferent to it as if it were
another’s. Indeed, in his eyes nothing is his own but what will be so always. He is not
quick to take offence. Even under provocation, thought of revenge never crosses his mind.
The reward he seeks hereafter will be greater in proportion to his endurance. He harbours
no evil thoughts. Hatred is utterly rooted out of a heart whose only love is goodness.
Thoughts that defile a man can find no entry. He does not gloat over other people’s sins.
No; an enemy’s fall affords him no delight, for loving all men, he longs for their
On the other hand, he is gladdened by an
upright life. Since he loves others as himself, he takes as much pleasure in whatever
good he sees in them as if the progress were his own.
Saint Gregory the Great,
(Office of Readings, Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time