In Gregory the Great’s Pastoral Care the balance of the Christian life of the clergy not only permeates Gregory’s discussions in each major section of the book but also this theological motif served him to challenge the tendency of the clergy of his times to have a negative attitude towards the active life.
At least in the ancient and medieval periods, the relationship between theology and work in Christianity was difficult. A theologian who addressed this issue is Gregory the Great in his treatise Pastoral Care. In his book Gregory offers his perspective, which is strongly shaped by a philosophical-theological motif: the balance between contemplation and action in the clergy’s life. More recently, scholars and theologians who have approached this topic have noted that the balance motif seems to be recurrent in Gregory’s thought, including his pastoral discussions.
Noteworthy are the valuable efforts done by theologians and other scholars, their positive influence on practical and historical theology, and their general discussions of the balance motif. Despite of this, the theme of balance in the Christian life of the clergy needs to be more fully and explicitly addressed. For instance, one might ask what role this motif plays in Gregory’s Pastoral Care as a whole. We can argue that in Gregory’s Pastoral Care, the balance of the Christian life of the clergy constitutes a key theme which permeates Gregory’s discussions in each major section of the book, allowing Gregory to challenge the clergy’s tendency to have a negative attitude towards the active life.
*This is a summary of the paper published as “Gregory the Great on the Balance of the Christian Life of the Clergy,” Revista Teologica, Seminario Presbiteriano do Sul 74, no. 2 (October 2021): 66-80. If you’d like to read this paper in full, please click here to download it in pdf format.