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ST. BASIL was born in Asia Minor. Two of his brothers became bishops, and, together with his mother and sister, are honored as Saints. He studied with great success at Athens, where he formed with St. Gregory Nazianzen the most tender friendship. He then taught oratory; but dreading the honors of the world, he gave up all, and became the father of the monastic life in the East. The Arian heretics, supported by the court, were then persecuting the Church; and Basil was summoned from his retirement by his bishop to give aid against them. His energy and zeal soon mitigated the disorders of the Church, and his solid and eloquent words silenced the heretics. On the death of Eusebius, he was chosen Bishop of Cæsarea. His commanding character, his firmness and energy, his learning and eloquence, and not less his humility and the exceeding austerity of his life, made him a model for bishops. When St. Basil was required to admit the Arians to Communion, the prefect, finding that soft words had no effect, said to him, "Are you mad, that you resist the will before which the whole world bows? Do you not dread the wrath of the emperor, nor exile, nor death?" "No," said Basil calmly; "he who has nothing to lose need not dread loss of goods; you cannot exile me, for the whole earth is my home; as for death, it would be the greatest kindness you could bestow upon me; torments cannot harm me: one blow would end my frail life and my sufferings together." "Never," said the prefect, "has any one dared to address me thus." "Perhaps," suggested Basil, "you never before measured your strength with a Christian bishop." The emperor desisted from his commands. St. Basil's whole life was one of suffering. He lived amid jealousies and misunderstandings and seeming disappointments. But he sowed the seed which bore goodly fruit in the next generation, and was God's instrument in beating back the Arian and other heretics in the East, and restoring the spirit of discipline and fervor in the Church. He died in 379, and is venerated as a Doctor of the Church.
Reflection. —"Fear God," says the Imitation of Christ, "and thou shalt have no need of being afraid of any man."
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
In the midst of the church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. (P.T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 91, 2. It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy name, O Most High. Glory be …
Give ear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, unto our prayers, which we offer on the solemnity of blessed Basil, Thy confessor and bishop, and by the interceding merits of him who had the grace to serve Thee worthily, free us from all our sins. Through our Lord.
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to Timothy.
[His charge to Timothy. He tells him of his approaching death and desires him to come to him.]
Dearly beloved, I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart; and his steps shall not be supplanted.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[Christ heals the dropsical man. The parable of the supper. The necessity of renouncing all to follow Christ.]
At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you having a mind to build a tower, doth not first sit down, and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether he have wherewithal to finish it: Lest, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that see it begin to mock him, Saying: This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Or what king, about to go to make war against another king, doth not first sit down, and think whether he be able, with ten thousand, to meet him that, with twenty thousand, cometh against him? Or else, whilst the other is yet afar off, sending an embassy, he desireth conditions of peace. So likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be my disciple. Salt is good. But if the salt shall lose its savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither profitable for the land nor for the dunghill, but shall be cast out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
My truth and mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.
May the annual festival of blessed Basil, Thy confessor and pontiff, we beseech thee, O Lord, render us acceptable to Thy loving-kindness, that through these offices of pious atonement a blessed reward may attend him and he may win for us the gifts of Thy grace. Through our Lord.
A faithful and wise servant, whom the Lord hath set over His family, to give them their measure of wheat in due season.
O God, the rewarder of faithful souls, grant that, through the prayers of blessed Basil, Thy confessor and bishop, whose august solemnity we celebrate, we may obtain pardon for our sins. Through our Lord.