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FOOD FOR THOUGHT




 

ST. BASIL THE GREAT. . .

 

 

 

 

CHRISTIAN PUNISHMENT

 

We do not punish those who have done wrong on account of what has been done; for the wrong has been done and nothing can be done to undo it. We punish wrong-doers that they may be made better for the future, that they may not repeat the wrong they have done.

 

St. Basil

 

* * *

 

 

CHARITY vs. HATE

 

"For where charity fails and disappears, beyond any doubt hate will take its place. And if, as John says, God is love (1 John IV:16), it then must follow that the devil is hate. He therefore who has charity within him has God within him; so he who cherishes hate within him, cherishes the devil within him."

 

St. Basil

 

* * *

 

 

UNBELIEF

 

Unbelief among sins is as the plague among diseases -- the most dangerous; but when it rises to despair, then it is as the plague with the tokens appearing that bring the certain message of death with them. Unbelief is despair in the bud; despair is unbelief at its full growth.

 

Let nothing be to you an occasion of unbelief. If thou considerest the stones, even they contain proof of the power of their maker; and so does the ant, the gnat, the bee. In smallest things, the wisdom of the Creator is oft displayed. He who stretched out the heavens and poured forth the mighty volume of the sea, He it is who hollowed the minute sting of the bee to shed its virus through. . . you must not say that anything was done by chance.

 

St. Basil

 

* * *

 

 

THE DEVICE OF A BIRD

 

I once observed the cunning device of a bird; when her young are easily captured by reason of their tender age, she presents herself as an easy prey to the fowlers, and, fluttering before them, she neither allows herself to be taken nor deprives them of the hope of capturing  her. Thus, she affords her young the opportunity of escape, and then she herself flies away. Take heed lest, in like manner, you lose the things which you can obtain by grasping at those which you cannot. Transfer yourself wholly to the Lord; enroll yourself in His Church.

 

St. Basil the Great

 

* * *

 

THE HALCYON DAYS

 

The halcyon lays its eggs in the sand, hard by the sea, and hatches them in winter when the waves beat hardest against the shore. But the winds all sleep, and the waves are at rest for seven days, while the halcyon sits upon her eggs. And when the young ones come to need their food, then the beneficent God allows seven days more for the growth of this minute bird.  And the sailors are aware of this, and call these the halcyon days. And this care for brute creatures is ordained by God that you may be encouraged to ask Him what you need for your salvation.

 

St. Basil the Great

 

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SELF-RENUNCIATION

This is self-renunciation. . .to unlock the chains of this early life which passeth away and to set oneself free from the affairs of men, and thus to make ourselves fitter to enter on that path that leads to God and to free our spirit to gain and use those things which are far more precious than gold or precious stones.

St. Basil the Great

 

* * *

 

DISCIPLINE

Discipline must always be applied to the wrongdoer after the manner of physicians, who are not angry with the patient, but fights the disease...treat the disease, not the person. 

Pride therefore will be corrected by ordering the practice of humility, aimless talk by silence, immoderate sleep by wakefulness in prayer, slothfulness by work, greediness by abstinence from food, discontent by separation from the other brethren. 

St. Basil the Great

* * *

 

ATTACHMENT TO MATERIAL THINGS

So avoid all sins; but if through the devil's wiles evil has taken a foothold in your souls, toil in the way of repentance. If sin is already weighing you down, if the dust of riches has already settled on you, if your soul has been dragged right down by attachment to materials things, then before you fall into utter ruin, get rid of the heavy burden. Before the ship sinks, follow the example of sailors and cast overboard the possessions that have made you become attached to the things of the world. 

St. Basil the Great (PG29, 224)

 

 

 

 

 

(10-08-03)

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                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila

 


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