"No one presumes to teach an art till he has first, with intent meditation, learnt it. What rashness is it, then, for the unskillful to assume pastoral authority, since the government of souls is the art of arts!"
This opening to Chapter 1 of Pope Gregory the Great's "Regula Pastoralis" or "The Book of Pastoral Rule" shapes for us an understanding into the spiritual mind of a monastic man turned reluctant Pope, administrator, teacher and defender of the reputation of the Church fully aware of the political and social issues of his time. He was a man immersed with a love of Scripture and the contemplative life now flung into the very busy world of his pontificate. His mission as he saw it was to guard the soul of the Church at a time when its dignity and reputation was in danger of hemorrhaging. His response was to focus on his pastoral leaders, his Bishops, to give them a formation and pastoral handbook directing them as to what kind of character they must exhibit and how they should act as true examples and preachers of the Christ message to the people they serve.