Action Alert!

Fathers of the Church

Letter CXCIV: to Zoilus

Description

Basil at first teases Zoilus for his letter, then relates the state of his own ill health.

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

WHAT are you about, most excellent sir, in anticipating me in humility? Educated as you are, and able to write such a letter as you have sent, you nevertheless ask for forgiveness at my hands, as though you were engaged in some undertaking rash and beyond your position. But a truce to mockery. Continue to write to me on every occasion. Am I not wholly illiterate? It is delightful to read the letters of an eloquent writer. Have I learned from Scripture how good a thing is love? I count intercourse with a loving friend invaluable. And I do hope that you may tell me of all the good gifts which I pray for you; the best of health, and the prosperity of all your house. Now as to my own affairs, my condition is not more endurable than usual. It is enough to tell you this and you will understand the bad state of my health. It has indeed reached such extreme suffering as to be as difficult to describe as to experience, if indeed your own experience has fallen short of mine. But it is the work of the good God to give me power to bear in patience whatever trials are inflicted on me for my own good at the hands of our merciful Lord.

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.