St Basil (330-379 AD)
I desire the grace for a humble heart - to use my gifts
for God’s glory and the good of others.
St. Basil the Great was born at Caesarea (in modern day Turkey) into a family full of holy men and women. His paternal grandmother was St. Macrina. Both of his parents, St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia were saints. Of this holy couple’s ten children, three are recognized as saints today--St. Basil and his brothers St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Peter of Sebaste. Later in life, St. Basil would become best friends with another saint, Gregory Nazianzen.
A brilliant student who hungered for knowledge and Truth, his early life was filled with studies at some of the most prestigious schools of the day—in Athens, Constantinople and Caesarea. Before eventually entering monastic life, he practiced law and opened a school of oratory in Caesarea where he instructed students in the art of public speaking.
In a sense, he was a victim of his own success—spiritually. He was so successful that praise and accolades followed him everywhere, which he saw as a threat to the humility he wanted to practice in his life. In a dramatic and definitive step, he left his worldly success and founded a monastery in Pontus near the Black Sea. He spent five years there and wrote a Rule for monks on how to live in community. He also founded several other monasteries in the region. He is considered the Father of Monasticism in the East.
In 370 he was called out of “retirement” as a monk to become the bishop of his hometown, Caesarea. For the next nine years of his life, he vigorously defended the divinity of Christ against the Arian heretics and was famous for his humility, charity and courage in the face of persecution by the Arian emperor. For these and many other reasons, he has been given the rare title of “Great.” He died in 379.
Father, through the intercession of St. Basil the Great, grant me the virtues of charity to those in need, humility in my dealings with all people, and courage in the face of threat and persecution for holding fast to your Church. As he lived these virtues brilliantly in his life, may I grow daily in their practice so that like him, I too may be an instrument in your Hand to show others your love and proclaim your truth.
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(Article contributed via: Friends of Desert Heart Cry (c) 2016 )