He was succeeded on July 17, 561 by Pope John III. His election was delayed several months because of the Barbarian invasions but once elected he saved Italy from the hordes. During his 13 year pontificate he was embroiled with the Lombard Narsete but rallied Italians to defend their land against the invading hordes. He died on July 13, 575.
It took a year before his successor would be elected and when he was the conclave settled on Pope Benedict I as the 62nd successor of Peter. Benedict, also Roman-born, tried in vain to restore order in Italy as well as France which had been thrown into confusion by the barbaric invasions and internal disorders. With all the turmoil and Justinian having died, Benedict confirmed decrees of the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople which had been in limbo because of the turmoil and suppression.
Benedict passed on to his eternal reward on July 30, 579 setting the course for his successor Pope Pelagius II to be elected on November 26th of the same year. His biggest problem was the siege of Rome and to deal with the problems of the Lombard invasions he turned to Constantinople for help but the Patriarch there John IV refused to recognize the Pope as the Supreme Pontiff and instead declared himself supreme patriarchate declaring it at a synod in 588. This caused Pelagius to break off communion with John and the Eastern Church. He did so by ordering his young nuncio Gregory to break with John IV until the latter repudiated the title. It was Pelagius II who raised the altar directly above the shrine of the Apostles. He also decreed that priests must recite the Divine Office every day, something that still stands today. During the latter part of his papacy a plague broke out, a strange pestilence where victims died yawning and sneezing and sadly Pelagius was one of the first victims, succumbing on February 7, 590.
That paved the way for the great Doctor of the Church Pope Saint Gregory the Great who would guide the Church into the seventh century as the 64th in the succession of Peter. This protege of Pelagius' who served as his Papal nuncio was chosen on September 3, 590. His fourteen year pontificate was a perfect model of ecclesiastical rule. He healed schisms, revived Church discipline, and preserved the Italian culture by converting the savage Arian Lombards who had laid waste to so many regions. He played a significant role in the conversion of the Arian Goths who had settled France and Spain and in bringing the Light of the True Faith to the British Isles. In spite of these triumphs, he faced almost insurmountable odds with the Lombards who were dubbed the gruesome "Longbeards." He tried to reconcile twice with this ghastly tribe of plunderers - in the eighth year of his papacy and again just before he succumbed in 604.
In was fortunate for the Church that Rome had such a solid rock sitting on the throne of Peter for the Church was being attacked on all sides at the turn of the seventh century. Besides the invasion threats of the Lombards, the Donatus Schism would not die. The false belief that the validity of a sacrament depended on the spiritual condition of the minister. This schism was condemned at the Council of Carthage in 404, yet lasted for several hundred more years until the defeat of the Saracens in northern Africa. Unfortunately, this schism caused the breakdown of the Church in Africa as well as taking its toll on the patience of St. Gregory, who had toiled many years fending off another schism - that of Arianism which falsely taught that Jesus did not have the same divine nature as the Father.
Despite all the trouble, St. Gregory guided his flock with innumerable letters and preached unrelentingly most effectively by his living what he prescribed. Liturgically his greatest accomplishments was his gift of setting the order of the ecclesiastical prayer and introducing chant which today bears his name - Gregorian Chant. Sadly after Vatican II this unique music was shelved into the background like many of the devotions that had survived for centuries only to be discarded a mere 30 years ago.
This holy Pope was big on ceremony and the more splendiferous, the more honor and glory was given to God. He inaugurated the Papal Mass which was filled with pomp and circumstance, even to the point of processing from the Lateran palace to the Basilica on horseback escorted by an entourage of priests, faithful followers, and noble attendants which comprised the pontifical court.
Besides the pageantry, St. Gregory introduced resplendent music, forsaking the traditional five bar circular notes for the simpler, melodic four bar square notes. He also condensed the three books compiled by Pope Gelasius some 50 years earlier, into one book, which was the genesis of the Sacramentary and Lectionary, as well as the Roman Missal.
The Plan of the Mass was divided into two sections - the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful - the former derived from the earliest days of the Church as we recounted in an earlier installment, and the latter having been developed through the years and polished by St. Gregory.
Though the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would evolve even more, the structure established by St. Gregory stood the test of time, surviving through the Dark ages into the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution, and only sadly meeting its demise after the Second Vatican Council. This renowned Pontiff had set in law a fixed text known as the Roman Canon. He had ensconced the Latin language as the official tongue throughout the world. He had instituted a new type of music - chant - Gregorian Chant, which blended well with the Mass. And he had presented it all together in such a reverent "package" that it was widely accepted throughout the civilized world. For the Holy Roman Catholic Church, in unison with the Church Triumphant, through these years were the beginning of the Dark Ages, it was a time that could truly be called the Golden Age of the Mass.
In the next installment we will study the Plan of the Mass before advancing on in history through the next few centuries that followed the reign of St. Gregory the Great.
On April 6, 1990 he was recalled to Rome to begin a stint as Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. A year later, during the Holy Father's third Consistory of June 28, 1991 he was named to the cardinalate, receiving the titular church of St. Mary Auxiliartrix in Via Tuscalona. The "pro" was also removed from his title and two days after receiving his red-hat as a cardinal-deacon he was made Prefect of the same congregation he had served for a year. It is a position he still holds today. In 1993 he was named to the additional honor of Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Gregorian University and Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. At 72 he enjoys active curial memberships in the Secretary of StateCongregation of Bishops, the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for Causes of Saints, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Congregation for the Clergy plus the Pontifical Council for Culture.
LAW 2: Your best round of golf will be followed almost immediately by your worst round ever. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.
LAW 3: Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic. Though this cannot be proven in the lab, it is a known fact that the more expensive the golf ball, the greater its attraction to water.
LAW 4: Golf balls never bounce off of trees back into play. If one does, the tree is breaking a law of the universe and should be cut down.
LAW 5: No matter what causes a golfer to muff a shot, all his playing partners must solemnly chant "You looked up," or invoke the wrath of the universe.
LAW 6: The higher a golfer's handicap, the more qualified he deems himself as an instructor.
LAW 7: Every par-three hole in the world has a secret desire to humiliate golfers. The shorter the hole, the greater its desire.
LAW 8: Topping a 3-iron is the most painful torture known to man.
LAW 9: Palm trees eat golf balls.
LAW 10: Sand is alive. If it isn't, how do you explain the way it works against you?
LAW 11: Golf carts always run out of juice at the farthest point from the clubhouse.
LAW 12: A golfer hitting into your group will always be bigger than anyone in your group. Likewise, a group you accidentally hit into will consist of a football player, a professional wrestler, a convicted murderer and an IRS agent -- or some similar combination.
LAW 13: All 3-woods are demon-possessed.
LAW 14: Golf balls from the same "sleeve" tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into the water (See Law three).
LAW 15: A severe slice is a thing of awesome power and beauty.
LAW 16: "Nice lag" can usually be translated to "lousy putt." Similarly, "tough break" can usually be translated "way to miss an easy one, sucker."
LAW 17: The person you would most hate to lose to will always be the one who beats you.
LAW 18: The last three holes of a round will automatically adjust your score to what it really should be.
LAW 19: Golf should be given up at least twice per month.
LAW 20: All vows taken on a golf course shall be valid only until sunset.
How do you keep a duffer occupied during a rain delay?
Give him a bag of M&M's and tell him to alphabetize them.
Why can't a duffer be a pharmacist?
He can't get the bottle in the typewriter.
What's the definition of eternity?
Four duffers at a Four-way stop waiting for the other to play through!
What do you call a basement full of duffers?
A whine cellar!
What do duffers call Cheerios?
Hear about the duffer that kept an AM radio in his golf bag?
It took him a month to realize he could play it at night.
Why do duffers like playing in the lightning?
They think someone is taking their picture.
Why did the duffer scale the chain-link fence?
To see what was on the other side.
How do you make a duffer laugh on Saturday?
Tell him a joke on Wednesday.
Why did the duffer stare at frozen orange juice?
Because it said 'concentrate'.
To all the world I say: Beware the false peace which rises up in that part of the world where once my Divine Son lived, taught, suffered, died and rose from the dead before He ascended into Heaven.
This is the fulfillment of Sacred Scripture, part of the evil one's plan to lull his victims into a feeling of security.
I solemnly tell you, dear little children, that the more the word 'peace' is spoken, the closer you are to the reign of the antichrist.
Behold, my little children, you must become as a living prayer, walking only the path of holiness, seeking only God. If you are concerned only with worldly things these things shall swallow you up and sweep you into the clutches of satan.
Dear children, I plead anew for full conversion of heart, which is a total surrender of self to God, placing all trust in Him and being transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of my Divine Son.
I say again: Many are the signs already given of the End Times. Many more signs shall be given, and only those awake in the Holy Spirit shall recognize the powerful hand of God.
Let every heart be open! Let every voice cry out to God for mercy! Let my little ones persevere, for the sorrows of your days shall fall heavily upon you.
I, your Heavenly Mother, the Immaculate Conception, shall be with you, for I prepare the way for my Divine Son.
Let every church proclaim the Truth. Let my little ones fill every church. Let every home become a place of holiness, and let every tongue proclaim the Holy Name of Jesus, the King of Kings. Let every knee bend at the sound of His Name.
Pray much in these days, my little ones, and do not grow weary, for eternity is but a breath away and you must not neglect your soul.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
I, Jesus Christ, only-begotten Son of God, Savior and Redeemer of the world say: Behold, I alone am King. To Me belongs all sovereignty, in Heaven and on earth.
Behold, I see the world through eyes of sorrow, for you seek not My authority and power, you seek your own. There is no power upon earth unless I, your God, permit it. I alone am All, and unto Me shall come all living things so that Scripture shall be fulfilled. To Me every knee shall bend!
O, how I long to draw you into the Refuge of My Sacred Heart! How I long to pour out My Divine Mercy upon the world, that you may be given True Light to guide you on the path of salvation. I do solemnly tell you that you shall weep, My children, for the sufferings shall be multiplied upon all the earth. No nation or race shall be spared. Those whose hearts are open, shall receive My Mercy and they shall give mercy to others. This is what I ask in these end times: LET MERCY BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!
Heed My Gospel Message carefully. Live it at every moment and make every day one of prayer and sacrifice. If you do this, My children, My Mother's Immaculate Heart shall triumph sooner and you shall see the Reign of the Sacred Heart, the fulfillment of the Our Father when you least expect it.
I bless you, My children, who worship and adore Me as Christ the King. Peace I give unto you. Fear no man, for I am at your side.
Great shall be the changes which befall you. Therefore, cling to Me, for I alone am Truth.
Pray, for the hour has come!