Saint Basil the Great

How many precepts you ignore, since your ears are plugged with avarice! How much gratitude you ought to have shown to your Benefactor, how joyful and radiant you ought to have been that you are not one of those who crowd in at others doors, but rather others are knocking at your door. But now you lower your eyes and quicken your step, muttering hasty responses, lest anyone pry some small coin from your grasp. You know how to say only one thing: “I do not have, I cannot give, I myself am poor.” You are poor indeed and bereft of all goodness: poor in love, poor in kindness, poor in faith towards God, poor in eternal hope. Make your brothers and sisters sharers of your grain; give to the needy today what rots away tomorrow. Truly, this is the worst kind of avarice: not even to share perishable goods with those in need. (Saint Basil, “On Social Justice”, p.68-69)

How many precepts you ignore, since your ears are plugged with avarice! How much gratitude you ought to have shown to your Benefactor, how joyful and radiant you ought to have been that you are not one of those who crowd in at others doors, but rather others are knocking at your door. But now you lower your eyes and quicken your step, muttering hasty responses, lest anyone pry some small coin from your grasp. You know how to say only one thing: “I do not have, I cannot give, I myself am poor.” You are poor indeed and bereft of all goodness: poor in love, poor in kindness, poor in faith towards God, poor in eternal hope. Make your brothers and sisters sharers of your grain; give to the needy today what rots away tomorrow. Truly, this is the worst kind of avarice: not even to share perishable goods with those in need. (Saint Basil, “On Social Justice”, p.68-69)

2 Replies to “Saint Basil the Great”

  1. Thank you for sharing these bits from St Basil. It’s amazing how difficult it is to find english translations of this great saint and Doctor of the Church, in english, that are freely availble ($^%$%#$ copyright nazis.. Talk about robbing what was given freely to all! 🙂

    God bless.

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