Fathers of the Church

Letter CXXIII: to Urbicius, the Monk

Description

Basil asks for prayers and consolation in his time of trouble.

Provenance

St. Basil's correspondence is a copious and invaluable store of information for the history of the Eastern Church in the fourth century, particularly in Cappadocia. Since he never found a real biographer, his letters represent the best source for his life and times, for his many activities and far-reaching influence, especially for his personality and his character. (Quasten)

by Basil the Great in 357-370 | translated by Blomfield Jackson, M.A

You were to have come to see me (and the blessing was drawing near) to cool me, aflame in my temptations, with the tip of your finger. What then? My sins stood in the way and hindered your start, so that I am sick without a remedy. Just as when the waves are round us, one sinks and another rises, and another looms black and dreadful, so of my troubles: some have ceased, some are with me, some are before me. As is generally the case, the one remedy for these troubles is to yield to the crisis and withdraw from my persecutors. Yet come to me, to console, to advise, or even to travel with me; in any case you will make me better for the mere sight of you. Above all, pray, and pray again, that my reason be not whelmed by the waves of my troubles; pray that all through I may keep a heart pleasing to God, that I be not numbered with the wicked servants, who thank a master when he gives them good, and refuse to submit when he chastises them by adversity; but let me reap benefit from my very trials, trusting most in God when I need Him most.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (PNPF II/VIII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.