Monday, May 1, 2017

the Pope vs Attila the Hun

Today we hear from St Leo the Great in our reading from A Year with the Church Fathers. And he certainly earned our attention! When Attila the Hun was on his way to sack Rome, Pope Leo the Great rode out to meet him - unarmed!

Somehow (and if you know ANYTHING about Attila the Hun, you realize how amazing this is) the Pope convinced Attila to turn back and not attack Rome after all. If you ask St Leo the Great, he'd tell you how it happened: God intervened.

And so when he came back and they had a huge commemoration of this event in which the entire city was saved from slaughter, he was understandably frustrated that his fellow Romans didn't give God adequate praise for their deliverance.

He hearkens back to the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus. Only one of the ten returned to thank Jesus for healing them of a horrible disease and changing their lives. St Leo says that the Romans were acting like the other nine lepers.

And we read this story, and the one about the lepers, and we think "How horrible that these people don't thank God for their great gifts." But how easy it is to fall into that trap, isn't it? To forget to thank Him? How many times have you been in a tight spot (like the characters in O Brother Where Art Thou) and prayed that God will help you... but then as soon as you're out of the difficulty, you R.U.N.N.O.F.T. (run off) without thanking Him for what He did?

Let's try to be more thankful, and remember Who it is that has not only delivered us from our troubles, but gave us our lives and our great blessings to begin with.

God, thank You for reminding us to be more grateful. Please help us remember.