Blessed Pope Pius IX (1792 - 1878)
for February 7
Blessed Pope Pius IX was born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti. He was an intelligent and reverent young man who was afflicted with epilepsy. Giovanni attended Piarist College in Volterra, Italy, and then continued his studies in Rome. He wished to join the Papal Noble Guard, but was not admitted due to his epilepsy. After his rejection, Giovanni studied theology at the Roman Seminary. During his studies at the seminary, his epilepsy disappeared. Giovanni was chosen pope in 1846, and took the name Pius IX. Pope Pius IX was the longest-serving pope in the history of the Catholic Church, acting as pope for almost 32 years. During his papacy, he convened the First Vatican Council. Pope Pius IX also defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, stating that Mary was conceived without original sin. He was the last pope to rule the Papal States. Blessed Pope Pius IX passed on to his heavenly reward on February 7, 1878, and is buried in the Papal Basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome, Italy.
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"Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:3). Jesus asked Peter to be the first leader of the community that came to be known as the Church. In this letter attributed to Saint Peter, he gives other leaders the advice not to “lord [their leadership] over” others. True Christian leaders do not act out of pride and arrogance, but out of service and humility. Today we might not be assigned a flock as such, but we each have groups of people with whom we relate. Lording our knowledge or position over others will not witness to them the love of Christ. But working with others, listening, caring, and taking responsibility are all ways to witness to true Christian leadership. (Taken from “Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens.”)
Dear Jesus, help me to exercise true Christian leadership. Assist me in making my life one that reflects your values and inspires others to follow you. (Taken from “Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens.”)