Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Christian, Recognize Your Dignity!" counsels Pope St Leo the Great

Today is Pope St Leo's feast day!  And in this article, I share one of my favorite quotes from Christian history... an exhortation from Pope Leo the Great -- who really walked the talked!  And I describe it in the context of a dramatic showdown between Pope Leo and the notorious Attila the Hun. Here's a little teaser:

Attila the Hun was busy ransacking the countryside and most of Italy. His plan included the sack of Rome. Attila hoped to add it to his real estate holdings, thinking it a surefire way to impress his then-girlfriend, whom he was intent on adding to his collection of wives.
So, it would seem, Leo was in trouble, seeing that he and Attila were somewhat at cross-purposes -- Leo, wanting to protect Rome and keep its citizens alive, and Attila looking to attack and plunder the city.
Talk about a tough ministry assignment for Leo! Given the mounting evidence of the other cities and towns that had fallen under Attila's bulldozing ways, I'd say that Leo might be down to his last prayer. But prayer is exactly how Leo approached the situation.
Pope Leo promptly committed his papacy to the patronage and protection of St. Peter, the apostle and first pope.
What's more, Leo had arranged a meeting with Attila outside of the city.
A meeting?!
Hmmm . . . can you picture the pope's secretary fretting just a bit over this?
Um, uh, Holy Father? A meeting with a bloodthirsty murdering barbarian might be a tricky bit of diplomacy to pull off, you know . . .  Let's recall that Mr. Attila delights in burning churches, killing clergy, raping and maiming townspeople just for sport! He's devastated the countryside! Oh, and by the way, Your Holiness, Attila is a savage terrorist whose nickname is the "Scourge of GOD"???
Get the rest of the story. 

1 comment:

  1. Great article, Pat! I saw it over at Pantheos.

    God bless!



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