When St. Gregory was elected pope, his first thought was to run away

Even though St. Gregory didn’t want to become pope, he is regarded as the prime example of a “good shepherd.”

Near the end of the 6th century, the Catholic Church needed a “good shepherd.” Many bishops and clergy were corrupt and Europe was divided following the collapse of the Roman Empire.

When Pope Pelagius II died from the plague, the people of Rome knew exactly who they wanted to be the next pope.

Gregory was well known for his simplicity and desire for solitude. He was the abbot of a local monastery and it flourished under his guidance, attracting all kinds of men who knew of his holiness.

At the age of 50 Gregory looked forward to a life of contemplation and spending the rest of his days in the quiet stillness of his cell.

However, that dream came crashing down when the people and clergy of Rome came knocking on his door. They told him of their plan to elect him as pope and Gregory immediately

refused. He even wrote to the Emperor and pleaded with him, saying that he wouldn’t be installed as the next pope.

There is even one story (recalled in the Golden Legend) that illustrates his desire to flee from the office of the pope.

However, he eventually came to terms with the thought and accepted it in humble submission.

His life remains a perfect example of a bishop with the heart of a shepherd, who urges his sheep to not look at him, but at the true Shepherd who guides the flock.