Sep 2, 2017 filed under Faith, Love.

Divine beauty of a sunrise

Fun fact about St. Basil the Great (ca. 330 – ca. 375): his mother, father, and four of his nine siblings were canonized, including Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Talk about a holy family! What follows are words of St. Basil on the love of God that mean a lot to me, and I want to share them with you!

“First, let me say that we have already received from God the ability to fulfill all his commands. We have then no reason to resent them, as if something beyond our capacity were being asked of us. We have no reason either to be angry, as if we had to pay back more than we had received. When we use this ability in a right and fitting way, we lead a life of virtue and holiness. But if we misuse it, we fall into sin.

“This is the definition of sin: the misuse of powers given us by God for doing good, a use contrary to God’s commands. On the other hand, the virtue that God asks of us is the use of the same powers based on a good conscience in accordance with God’s command.

“Since we received a command to love God, we possess from the first moment of our existence an innate power and ability to love. The proof of this is not to be sought outside ourselves, but each one can learn this from himself and in himself.

“What, I ask, is more wonderful than the beauty of God? What thought is more pleasing and wonderful than God’s majesty? What desire is as urgent and overpowering as the desire implanted by God in a soul that is completely purified of sin and cries out in its love: I am wounded by love? The radiance of divine beauty is altogether beyond the power of words to describe.”

St. Basil, pray for us.

Love always,

Source for fun fact:

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8 Responses to “Radiance of Divine Beauty”

  1. Jini Druliner

    So wonderful to read about St. Basil! He opens my heart to our Lord and reminds me I am truly loved! Thank you Rose.

  2. Mary ann Novak

    Wonderful quote, Rose, especially to me the first two paragraphs: great to ponder in our calloused souls!

    • Rose Folsom

      Mary Ann,
      I like your word “ponder.” That’s what Mary did, and she’s the greatest saint of all. Perhaps a little pondering would help heal our culture and our world more than anything. After all, our friend St. Thomas Aquinas, and Aristotle before him, said contemplation of the truth is the highest form “activity” we can engage in. Wishing you fruitful pondering!

  3. Tom Roberts

    St Basil asserts that God gave us the ability to fulfill all his commands. What we do with this ability is up to us individually. How difficult is this? The first three people, Adam, Eve and Cain were all banished by God for their misdeeds. In Genesis 6:7 the Lord was contemplating destroying all life on earth “for I am sorry I made them.” He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because he couldn’t find ten innocent people. The scientist in me holds out the possibility that there were innocent people in Sodom but their number was less than ten.

    It looks bleak, but in Exodus 25 the Lord didn’t kill off the malcontented Israelites; he gave them a construction job calling for the best materials and the best talents. Exodus 25:8 “They shall make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.” In Exodus 31:6 the Lord gave the artisans the “necessary skill to make all the things I have ordered you to make.” Compare this to what St Basil wrote: “First, let me say that we have already received from God the ability to fulfill all his commands.”

    • Rose Folsom

      You’ve drawn all your examples from the Old Testament. St. Basil was living the Old Testament in light of the New. An example of reading the “whole” Bible, that is, reading the OT in light of the New Testament is that Adam and Eve weren’t so much banished as they skulked away in shame (it says they were ashamed) after realizing what a boneheaded thing they did by not accepting that dependence on God is the only way to that perfect balance of security and freedom that we, in our fallen state, spend our lives looking for.

      And after they ineptly and inadequately make themselves clothes out of leaves, God steps in and gives them fur duds.

  4. Sal

    Hi Rose,

    Thanks for Sharing these quotes from St. Basil! They are indeed profound. At the very bottom if his last quote, I can’t help but think of passages from Isaiah …”what eye has not seen, what ear has not heard, what God has in store for those who love him.” St. Basil, pray for us!


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