Agere sequitur Esse

St. Pope Leo the Great
10 November 2015
Lk 17:7-10


If there is one Latin dictum in philosophy which I know by heart, it is this: Agere sequitur esse—Action follows being.

Our philosophy teacher never missed a beat in making our class plumb the richness of this metaphysical principle, which serves as the foundation of the Church’s teaching on man’s inherent dignity.

The very first lines of the book of Wisdom in our first reading traces for us the source of this very dignity: God’s very own nature.

But what is God’s nature?

St. John Paul II, in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy, 1981) taught us that mercy is “the greatest quality of God.”

Pope Francis, in his Bull heralding the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, tells us that Jesus Christ reveals to us the face of the Father’s mercy. And if we derive this dignity from God’s very own nature, what should that make of us?

The very saint we commemorate today, St. Leo the Great, in one of his sermons, reminds us thus, “Christian, remember your dignity.”

Hence, in our Gospel today, if we manifest this very quality—we ought to say that mere “ unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.”

Let this Eucharist bring us to beg the Lord for the courage to be merciful, or better yet, to send us His grace to cultivate  in us to act according to what we are, that is, agere sequitur esse.


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