Resolving with St. Basil

st basil cathedral onion domes

Jan. 2: Memorial of St. Basil the Great.

Anyone ever laid eyes on St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow?

Officially, it is the Cathedral of the Most Holy Theotokos. We kept the Solemnity of the Theotokos, Mother of God, yesterday, on a holy day of obligation, binding on all able-bodied Catholics.

The St. Basil whose relics are kept in the church on Red Square is actually a later St. Basil, who lived in the 16th century, not the original St. Basil the Great. But it sure is a beautiful-looking church.

Here’s a quote from the original St. Basil, friend of St. Gregory Nazianzen:

There is still time for endurance, time for patience, time for healing, time for change. Have you slipped? Rise up. Have you sinned? Cease.

Here’s another quote, from the beginning of St. Basil’s Rule for holy living:

Since, by God’s grace, we have gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—we who have set before ourselves one and the same goal, the devout life—and since you have plainly manifested your eagerness to hear something on the matters pertaining to salvation…I implore you then, by the charity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, let us at length apply our minds to the affairs of our souls, and grieve for the vanity of our past life…Why will we not place before our eyes that fearsome and manifest day of the Lord?…We say indeed that we desire the kingdom of heaven, yet we are not solicitous for the means whereby it is attained…

But, teacher! asks the disciple, Since Scripture has given us leave to propound questions, we must ask, first of all, whether the commandments of God have a certain order or sequence, as it were, so that one comes first?

St. Basil replies:

Your question is an old one, proposed long ago in the gospel…The Lord answered: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

So let’s resolve to make 2013 a year of faith and Christian love.

One thought on “Resolving with St. Basil

  1. Father Mark (& St. Basil The Great),

    Yes, I saw it in 2000 in a two-week mission trip to Moscow, St. Petersburg & Petrozavodsk. However, I was totally unaware that it was a theotokos, which I thought WAS Mary.

    On the second and last of the quotes, all very well, you two (FM & SGTG), but what does it mean in a day-to-day effort to follow Christ?

    For guidance into the practice of the two great commandments, I usually refer to the Letter of James (“The Everyman’s Guide to The Practice of Everyday Christianity”).

    However, to my mind, the first quote really nails it.

    Thanks & Happy New Year!

    In God we trust.



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