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  Messages 21-20 deleted by author between 05-17-2008 10:02 AM and 02-22-2008 04:14 PM
Marissa Bond
01:09 PM ET (US)
In Christianity, both life and death come in two parts – the spiritual and the temporal. The determinate for the eternal spiritual is based on the life in the temporal. If, in religion, one chooses Christ and thus eternal life, then there is an eternity of bliss. If, however, Christianity is denied and hedonism embraced, then what is left but death, and an eternal death? According to the Scriptures, the true punishment for eating the fruit was not banishment from the garden, but rather death. The banishment was symbolic of what had already happened – the separation from God that defines mortality. The temporal life is the period allotted to correct this eternal separation – according to Gregory it certainly does not define all there is of existing. “The soul can therefore be considered mortal and immortal: mortal, because it can lose it’s life of happiness; immortal, because it will never cease to live the life it was created to live; and this life is not destroyed even when the soul is condemned to eternal death.” Death is then not the noun of hell, but the verb of hell. “Therefore, it is continually forced to suffer death without dying, and to waste away without ever ceasing to be, to come to en end endlessly. And so, its death is undying, its ceasing is ceaseless, and its ending is without end.”
anne colyn
10:34 AM ET (US)
While under the hood of the medieval church, Gregory the Great addressed specific issues of concern regarding political turmoil, economic abuse and social isolation. In fact, his particular position of pope allowed him to create a ground for communication and friendly interaction in a period marked by aggression, dominance and hostility, and thus amplified the importance of the church in Medieval Europe. As other have already pointed out, his religious devotion gave him the insight necessary to point out vices and unjustices that reigned over the poor, not missing out to evaluate the "mis-deeds" of the church itself.
Christine Chung
09:42 AM ET (US)
what problems dose Gregory confront ruling? (social, politial, economic, spiritual)

Gregory was prince of Rome and also had a great power over the Christinanity. politically, his main task that he tried to achieve was secure peace with other tribes such as Lombards, Visigothe, Franks, etc. also, religiously, he pursed those tribes to convert into Christianity. also, he pointed out the causes of corruptions of each country and what they should do to go back to uncorrupted realious life. economically, he confronted with the tenants problem. some of holdings of church are solicited from the tenants. Gregory imphasized that unjust weight must not be used for collecting the rents.
Katie McConnaughey
09:00 AM ET (US)
As Gregory explains “new” revelations regarding forgiveness and good works, such as the case with Germanus (supposedly sinning through ignorance and, therefore, purified and having obtained grace), this previously entirely spiritual realm, which, according to Gregory’s dialogue with Peter, has been clarified, can only be explained in a “mingled reality” of the spiritual and material spheres. According to Gregory, the present world was advancing swiftly toward the end of its existence. As they moved toward the second coming of Christ, he believed that the spiritual world was beginning to open up to human comprehension and was actually approaching material reality, forming into visions and revelations regarding sin, life, and death. Because the spiritual world would forever remain an enigma to God’s beings on earth, until the end, it would lead to interpretation. But as Gregory explains, as the pale light just before dawn compares to the dark of night, spirituality seemed to be unfolding unto the material world and could be clarified by the pious Christians, waiting for such signs.
Edited 02-17-2003 09:01 AM
Emily Rosenberry
08:08 AM ET (US)
How popular or unpopular is Bennedict? Why?
Bennedict was a man who inspired others to follow him in his religious way of life, and was well loved by many, and hated by a handful of jealous men. Bennedict tried to be a hermit in the desert, but people sook him out. He tried to lead a quiet monastic life, but believers came in a steady stream to meet him and have him help them. And even the fact that the stories of the life of Bennedict are told by Gregory, show that Bennedict was a very popular man. In addition, he had all the enemies well loved leaders attract. His lifestyle caused less spiritual men to envy and covet those following Bennedict and his virtue.
Bennedict probably would have been happy to live out his life alone with God in the wilderness, but other believers found him and made him a part of their communities. Sometimes against every protest he could come up with, but they were so insistent that he acted, and in his action inspired more to follow him in his spirituality.
Sarah Kutner
07:37 AM ET (US)
RE: Gregory's Dialogues- What is death? Is death any different from facing the threat of hell?

According to Gregory, Death is a transition period between life on earth and eternal life. There are two types of life on earth: one which is to live with G-d, a life of happiness while the other is "to live simply as created beings" which is "merely being alive". The former (the life of happiness) can be lost and is mortal but is immortal "becuase it will never cease to live the life it was created to live" and the soul won't die upon the loss of life "And so, it's death is undying its ceasing is ceaseless, and its ending is without end." Death is a fearful process when a soul is judged and all souls face the threat of hell when they are judged.
Alexandra Polly
12:53 AM ET (US)
The Papal Estates
In this section of the Medieval Sourcebook it is stated that in the holdings of the Church many unjust exactions have been made. The tenants have been taken advantage of and the long standing customs that that still go on are detestable to the Church. Here are descriptions given of how these unjyst ways can be corrected and why they should be changed. It is argued that God is displeased with these ways, but does not have the authority to correct them. Not only mentioning the exacting of money, it is also discussed how to treat these serfs better, a more humane way. These changes not only appear to benefit the church by showing kindness and also showing that they are willing to loose money by instituting these practices. At the end of this section, the author stayes that he wants part of the letter that 'relates to the serfs, read throughout all our holdings, that they may know wherein they might protect themselves from violence with our authority' he also wanted a written copy to be posted and given to them as well. This is a great tactic for not only increasing his popularity but also in gathering the support of the people towards the Church. For those in the lower classes, this document, that directly affected their lives- is something that they feel a part of and that the Church is protecting them. This is a much better way to reach them than by having men of the cloth trying to encourage them to enter or support the Church.
Leslie Strongwater
12:29 AM ET (US)
From the Prologue, “To thee, therefore, my speech is now directed, who, giving up thine own will, takest up the strong and most excellent arms of obedience, to do battle for Christ the Lord, the true King,” along with scattered phrases like, “Fight against the devil,” and “Battle under biddings of holy obedience.” (Rules of St. Benedict) The “scripture” subtly embodies an insurrectionary tone, simultaneously inspiring fear and dread, rallying up the humble and pious to serve God. Being Christian is like being a soldier. They are taught that they must ignore their will, hate their will and live only according to God. They live in fear of Hell and of God, though one can only wonder which is worse. Does this tone of fire and brimstone fit within the canon of the Lord’s teaching of grace and all-loving nature?
Anna Kwon
12:00 AM ET (US)
Re: Gregory's Life of Benedict
Throughout Gregory's account of Benedict's life, there are certain signs or characteristics that marked a particular individual as a saint. To begin, a saint was someone who renounced the pleasures of the secular world in order to devote themselves to fully serving God's will, whether this was done by giving up wealth and high titles, joining a Christian community, or going to the desert. A saint was thus endowed with wisdom, eloquence, and a warm, loving personality, all the better to interpret the scriptures, expound God's Word, and to draw people unto the Lord. Outward signs of sanctity included strict discipline, a devotion to prayer and charitable works, and most importantly, a track record of God's protection and blessings bestowed on them. (Bennet apparently had all these signs, as did Gregory himself). The saint had the power to prophesy, to chase demons, to heal, and uncover diabolical plots of all types. In a world where evil spirits abounded, disease and war were rampant, and tomorrow was full of uncertainties, a saint was often the last, and best, recourse for God's help.
Julie Bednarski
11:40 PM ET (US)
What are the powers of the Eucharist?
The Eucharist serves as a tangible and mysterious sign of God’s grace. Gregory describes the Eucharist as the enactment of the passion of Christ, the timeless sacrifice that bridges the gap between the mundane and the divine. He emphasizes that it is both a personal and communal event, and that the state and sincerity of the receiver’s heart is of the utmost importance for their intention. Hopeful redemption is seen in the Eucharist. God emptied himself into human form for the purpose of redeeming humanity. The Eucharist has the power to liberate and sustain both the living and the dead. In the stories Gregory relates the power of the Eucharist frees two men from the bondage of sin carried into death, literally liberates one man from the chains of his captors, and sustains a man shipwrecked at sea. In these four stories the importance of the community of faith is stressed. These four people were blessed, not through any action of their own, but by the grace of another Christian (or community of Christians).
Jessica Moore
11:20 PM ET (US)
When Gregory was elected Pope in 590 he was faced with an oppulent and uninvolved Eastern Empire unable to exert any civil authority over Rome, which was also without a significant or organized military authority to contest the waves of invaders . Thus Gregory, the first monk to be made Pope, was compelled also to take up the mantle of civil authority in order to reestablish and maintain an ordered and productive society. While Gregory was concerned first and foremost with the spiritual health and growth of his people, he was wise enough to recognize that it would be nearly impossible to continue to persuade or educate to people to the ways of the church if there were no social stability. In addition and to understate the obvious, the economic situation during the period was also not good. Donning the robes of civil and spiritual authority seems to be the last thing that Gregory wanted, given his boundless humility. But perhaps that is why, in my opinion, he saw such marked success. As the "servant of the servants of God," he used his position and that of the church to aid materially (if not spiritually) of those in his charge. Perhaps his generosity and not (pleasant or fire-and-brimstone) conversion tactics drew people to the church. After all, many who converted following Constantine did so because he exempt them from certain taxes and such. Material benefits may not be the most romantic means of binding people to your side, and I don't necessarily believe that that is what compelled Gregory's actions, but whether he intended it or not, feeding people can make them more accepting of or succeptible to your actions/beliefs.
Sarah Pagni
10:34 PM ET (US)
What are the powers of Eucharist?
 Eucharist is able to save people from the situations they are in. For the examples that Gregory gives, it is a means of transition. The monk who had withheld the three gold coins, when Gregory gave Mass for him, he was released from the flames of hell. The Bishop of Narni died after receiving Mass. The man who had been taken into slavery was released from his chains on the day that his wife gave Mass for him. These people are moving to a better place because of the Masses given for them. Eucharist has a restorative power. The monk was able to go to heaven after his time in hell, the man who was enslaved was not bound one those days, and the bishop of Palermo was reunited with his boatman after giving Mass. Eucharist turns things to the way they should have been, to a life with God. And this is through Jesus’ sacrifice which is what the Eucharist is about, Jesus sacrificing himself so humans can be more with God.
Jess Carlin
09:12 PM ET (US)
Can you see a strategy to his actions?

The contributions of Pope Gregory to the Church cannot be measured. Yet like so many of his fellow Popes and rulers, every action was calculated to benefit the Church. Essentially, Gregory’s strategy was to convert everyone he possibly could. While there is no doubt that his intentions to bring the heathens into the enlightenment of the Christian religion are pure, when reading various letters written over the span of his life, it is clear that by converting the Germanic tribes, Gregory was cultivating power and safety for the Church. If the tribes were Christian, they could attack Rome and their religious leader. Furthermore, if Gregory were to control the Germanic tribes, he would eventually have spiritual power in almost every part of modern Europe, which in turn would lead to temporal power, setting the stage for his predecessors. This strategy would help the Church become the most powerful institution in the Western world, which is why Gregory is one of the most important of all the Popes.
Lyndsey Schutte
07:42 PM ET (US)
How popular or unpopular is Benedict? Why?
Well, in the Life of St. Benedict, poisoning is definatly mentioned more than once. Yet more commonly, people are portrayed as running to him for help. If noone else could fix a problem, good 'ol father Benedict could. What Bennet wanted to do for/to a person tended to determine how much they liked him. If he was just fixing something or saving someone for a person, that person naturally would be rather fond of him. But a certain percentage of the people he tried to lead in a more holy and disciplined life didn't like him at all. An example of this is in the beginning, in chapter three. "...because the life of virtuous men is always grievous to those that be of wicked conditions, some of them began to devise how they might rid him out of the way..."
Edited 02-16-2003 07:44 PM
Ana M. Pardo
06:18 PM ET (US)
St Gregory believed, as Sarah said, that after death the soul holds a life. Death is then a transition, a moment before entering eternal life, in which judgment takes place. In death, sins are evaluated. Their nature (42)(intentional or accidental) and their graveness (41)(mortal or trivial) determine our place in eternal life. Death is then the door to hell and to heaven; it is a fearful moment and it can be equivalent to the moments in which the threat of hell are faced, the only difference being that during this moment of death the threat is greater; there are fewer chances to cleanse the soul from the sins after death.
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