St Leo the Great, Pope & Doctor – 10 Nov
Born to the Italian nobility. Strong student, especially in scripture and theology. Priest. Eloquent writer and homilist.
Pope from 440 to 461 during the time of the invasion of Attila the Hun. When Attila marched on Rome, Leo went out to meet him and pleaded for him to leave. As Leo spoke, Attila saw the vision of a man in priestly robes, carrying a bare sword, and threatening to kill the invader if he did not obey Leo; Attila left. As Leo had a great devotion to Saint Peter the Apostle, it is generally believed the first pope was the visionary opponent to the Huns. When Genseric invaded Rome, Leo’s sanctity and eloquence saved the city again.
Called the Council of Chalcedon to condemn heresies of the day. Fought Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Manichaeism, and Pelagianism. Built churches. Wrote letters and sermons encouraging and teaching his flock, many of which survive today; it is for these writings that Leo was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1574.
God decreed that all nations should be saved in Christ. Dear friends, now that we have received instruction in this revelation of God‘s grace, let us celebrate with spiritual joy the day of our first harvesting, of the first calling of the Gentiles. Let us give thanks to the merciful God, “who has made us worthy,” in the words of the Apostle, “to share the position of the saints in light; who has rescued us from the power of darkness, and brought us into the kingdom of this beloved Son.” This came to be fulfilled, as we know, from the time when the star beckoned the three wise men out of their distant country and led them to recognize and adore the King of heaven and earth. The obedience of the star calls us to imitate its humble service: to be servants, as best we can, of the grace that invites all men to find Christ. – from a sermon by Pope Saint Leo the Great