It was in October of 1983 that the late Monsignor George Kelly, a prominent figure in the Archdiocese of New York and the author of Battle for the American Church who died in 2005 at the age of eighty-nine, was featured as a speaker at Holy Apostles Seminary, which is located in Cromwell, Connecticut, to give a conference about the state of the Church.
A masterful story-teller, Monsignor Kelly was in rare form that day. One of his best lines dealt with the great saint whose feast we celebrate today, Saint Basil the Great, one of the principal foes of Arianism. Monsignor Kelly described the time that a delegation of Arian bishops went to visit him to beseech him to join their cause, stating that he was among the only bishops in the world who had not decided to join with them. Monsignor Kelly recounted Bishop Basil's direct and tart response: "Perhaps you have never met a Catholic bishop before." The entire group of seminarians burst out in massive laughter, to the consternation of some of the red-faced seminary officials, I should add.
Saint Basil the Great is a very apt saint to consider for our own times. We live in a time of ecclesiastical apostasy and betrayal quite similar to his.
The conciliar "bishops," most of whom, unlike the Arian bishops, are not "bishops" at all, are infected to one degree or another with the ethos of conciliarism, oblivious to--or fully supportive of--the fact that the very foundation of conciliarism is a belief in the evolution of dogma. Even the so-called "conservative "bishops" are full-throated supporters of the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service, thereby offending God and harming the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. One cannot possibly even begin to understand how much God is offended by a "Mass" that is based upon Protestant and Judeo-Masonic principles, one that of its very fungible nature has led to all manner of abuses, both authorized and unauthorized by conciliar authorities, that have eviscerated belief in the Mass as a propiatory sacrifice for sins and in belief in the very teaching of Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. (Yes, of course, with some very rare exceptions, Our Lord is not present in the tabernacles of Catholic churches in conciliar captivity.)
Most of the conciliar "bishops" engage in inter-religious prayer services, thereby aping the apostasies of the conciliar "pontiffs" who appointed them. And, quite significantly, there is not one--that's right, not one--"bishop" in the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism in the United States of America, for example, who does not mandate some form of classroom instruction in matters pertaining to the Sixth and Ninth Commandments.
No matter how "conservative" a conciliar "bishop" may appear, no matter how many times he goes to pray before an American killing center, no matter how "generous" he is said to be "open" to the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition under the terms of the trap that is Summorum Pontificum, a "bishop" who permits any form of classroom instruction in matters pertaining to the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, including so-called "chastity education," is aborting souls. Most of the conciliar "bishop," though, are doing far more than this: they are either indifferent towards or supportive of agendas and programs and workshops and speakers and priests and theologians who reject articles contained in the Deposit of Faith.
These are simple facts. They should not shake our Faith whatsoever. The Church is divinely founded and maintained. She will last until the end of time. The jaws of Hell will never prevail against her. The Catholic Church is simply not responsible for these current apostasies, whose fomenters and propagators have expelled themselves from her ranks by their own words and deeds. Most of the Catholics in the world, however, believe the conciliar "bishops" to be who they claim to be, Successors of the Apostles, unaware that there are, as was the case in Saint Basil's time, only a handful of fully valid and completely Catholic bishops in the world in this time of apostasy and betrayal.
The Arian bishops were, unlike the conciliar "bishops" of today, true bishops who expelled themselves from the Church by their support of the Arian heresy. It is this self-expulsion from the Catholic Church that make conciliar "bishops" the spiritual descendants, if you will, of the Arians. And just as Saint Basil was one of only a few small handful of Catholic bishops who refused to submit to Arianism, there are only a handful of true bishops today who profess the Catholic Faith in its entirety and who defend It in the catacombs where no concessions are made to conciliarism or to the "legitimacy" of the counterfeit church's "shepherds."
Remember, one Catholic bishop, Saint John the Evangelist, stood by the foot of the Cross. Only one Catholic bishop, Saint John Fisher, out of approximately 100 remained faithful in England at the time King Henry VIII had himself declared to be the Supreme Head of the Church in England. Another thirty or so remained faithful when Queen Elizabeth I took England out of the Church for good in the 1560s. Steadfastness by Catholic bishops in the face of apostasy and betrayal is not one of the hallmarks of Church history, which is why Saint John Chrysostom said, "The floor of Hell is littered with the skulls of dead bishops and priests."
Saint Basil the Great had fortified himself for his own battle against the errors of Arianism, which denied the Sacred Divinity of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by many years of intense prayer. Dom Prosper Gueranger notes the following in The Liturgical Year:
Life's struggle, in his eyes, seemed a combat for truth alone. In himself, first of all, must divine Truth be victorious, by the defeat of nature and by the Holy Ghost's triumphant creation of the new man. Therefore, heedless to know, before God's own time, whether he might not be used in winning souls to God; never once suspecting how soon multitudes would indeed come pressing to receive the law of life from his lips, he turned his back upon all thins, and fled to the wilds of Pontus, there to be forgotten of men in his pursuit of holiness. Nor did the misery of those times cause him to fall into the error, so common nowadays, of wishing to devote himself to others before having first regulated his own soul. Such is not the true way of setting charity in order; such is not the conduct of the saints. It is thyself God wants of these before all things else; when thou hast become his, in the full measure he intends, he himself will know how to bestow thee upon other, unless perchance he prefer, for thy greater advantage, to keep the all to himself. But in any case, he is no lover of all that hurry to become useful; he does not bless these would-be utilitarians who are all eagerness to push themselves into the service of his Providence. Anthony of Padua showed us this truth yesterday; and here we have it given to us a second time. Mark it well: that which really tends to the extension of our Lord's glory is not the amount of time given to the works, but the holiness of the worker. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
This is a very pertinent lesson for our own days.
We read so much about this or that "strategy" to restore the Faith. Some of these strategies are based upon a calculated acceptance of false premises, such as the assertions made by the now retired Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI in his accompanying letter to Summorum Pontificum that the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition on the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service are but two forms of the "one" Roman Rite, and upon an effort to mute--or at least tone down--criticism of Ratzinger/Benedict's acts of apostasy against the First Commandment and his efforts to "mainstream" the New Theology in place of Thomism, which was the true raison d'etre of his "pontificate." No such "strategy" of accepting evil premises, offered, no less, by those who have expelled themselves from the Catholic Church as a result of their apostasies and defiance of some of her anathematized propositions, will restore the Faith. No, we need the spirit of a complete and total separation from error and those who promote it.
We need the holiness of life that comes from removing ourselves from everything to do with the counterfeit church of conciliarism and each of its novelties, including the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service. One will find in the true Church, which has undergone the Mystical Passion, Death and Burial of her Mystical Bridegroom and Invisible Head, the silent solitude of comfort today that was once found by Saint Basil in his flight from the world.
We must concentrate on personal holiness, which means making no concessions at all to conciliarism or its false shepherds. It is not our "strategies" that matter; it is our attempt to be holy that matters. And there is no more proven path, which is always fraught with dangers and temptations, to be sure, to holiness than by immersing oneself completely and exclusively the Catholic Faith as it is being safeguarded now in the catacombs where no concessions of any kind are made to conciliarism or to its apostate officials.
Dom Gueranger went on to comment about Saint Basil the Great in The Liturgical Year:
Basil's lifetime was cast in one of those periods exceptionally disastrous to the Church, when shipwrecks of faith are common, because darkness prevails to such an extent as to cast its shades over the children of light; a period, in fact, when, as St. Jerome expresses it, 'the astonished world waked up, to find itself Arian.' Bishops were faltering in essentials of true belief and in questions of loyalty to the successor of Peter; so that the bewildered flock scarce knew whose voice to follow; for many of their pastors, some through perfidy and some through weakness, had subscribed at Rimini to the condemnation of the faith of Nicea. Basil himself was assuredly not one of those 'blind watchmen: dumb dogs not able to bark.' When a simple lector, he had not hesitated to sound the horn of alarm, by openly separating himself from his bishop, who had been caught in the meshes of the Arians; and now himself a bishop, he boldly showed that he was not such indeed. For when entreated for peace' sake to make some compromise with the Arians, vain was every supplication, every menace of confiscation, exile, or death. He used no measured terms in treating with the prefect Modestus, the tool of Valens; and when this vaunting official complained that none had ever dared to address him with such liberty, Basil intrepidly replied: 'Perhaps thou never yet hadst to deal with a bishop!' (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
This passage, a variation of the story that the late Monsignor George Kelly told at Holy Apostles Seminary thirty-five years ago now, describes our own times, does it not? We are not dealing with "bishops" in the counterfeit church of conciliarism!
The world went to sleep one night with one Mass and found itself the next with the novelty of a synthetic concoction, a device that has devastated the Barque of Peter.
The conciliar "bishops" indeed falter in the essentials of true belief as they go about their business of doing such things as denying the historicity of the Gospels (see San Jose, California, "Bishop" Patrick McGrath) or keeping close company with those who support abortion "rights" (see Jorge Mario Bergoglio/"Pope Francis," and "Bishop" Sylvester Ryan, the former conciliar ordinary of Monterey, California, or the former conciliar "archbishop" of New York; see Edward "Cardinal" Egan, and his successor, Timothy Michael "Cardinal" Dolan; see the retired "archbishop" of Los Angeles, California, Roger "Cardinal" Mahony and his embrace of pro-death politicians and of the moguls of Hollywood, that vile entity that poisons our culture and pollutes souls) or stating that the Church must find some way to "bless" perverted "unions (see the now retired conciliar "bishop" of Rochester, New York, Matthew Clark) or being personally corrupted by wanton, unrepentant acts of perversion (see Springfield, Illinois, the late"Bishop" Daniel Ryan and former Santa Rosa, California, "Bishop" Patrick Ziemann, among others) or giving aid and comfort to perverse behavior (see Auxiliary "Bishops" Thomas Gumbleton and Reginald Cawcutt). It is not true that Catholics who make no concessions to conciliarism or to its false officials are the enemies of the Catholic Faith.
True Catholics dissent from not one whit of anything contained in the Deposit Faith. They worship as the Roman Rite of the Church has worshiped for the better part of two millennia. No, it is the counterfeit church of conciliarism's "bishops" today who are the enemies of the Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His Deposit of Faith, just it was the case in the time of Saint Basil with the Arian bishops.
Note that Saint Basil separated himself at one point from his bishop.
Those seeking to castigate any sedevacanist bishop or priest for separating themselves from the conciliar structures had better reckon with the manly, courageous example of Saint Basil the Great, he who did not want to make peace by means of making "some compromise with Arians" despite all of the names he was called and all of the things with which he was threatened.
"He used no measured terms in treating with the prefect Modestus." That is, error must be opposed openly. We do not oppose error by simply "stressing the good and being positive," one of the most sorry, shopworn tools of the devil himself that is being uttered by so many well-meaning people today to excuse themselves from defending the Faith in the same manner as the saints of the past, including Saint Basil the Great himself. That is why such wonderful oases of the Faith in the catacombs are so necessary in these times of apostasy and betrayal. This is not an escape from the Cross. Not at all. It is a recognition of how to embrace the Cross in order to defend the Faith no matter the calumnies that are used to deter the offering of the people of that which is their absolute right: the Catholic Faith without any concessions made to conciliarism whatsoever.
Although Saint Basil was indeed a man of great prudence and sought direction from Rome, the seat of the Holy Faith, which ought to give the Orthodox heretics and schismatics some pause for consideration in light of their rejection of primacy of the Successor of Saint Peter and their professed devotion to Saint Basil, he was nevertheless prepared at all times to speak the truth without fear of the consequences. Dom Prosper Gueranger noted:
Peace is just what Basil desired as much as anybody; but the peace for which he would give his life could be only that true peace left to the Church by our Lord. What he so vigorously exacted on the grounds of faith proceeded solely from his very love of peace. And therefore, as he himself tells us, he absolutely refused to enter into communion with those narrow-minded men who dread nothing so much as a clear, precise expression of dogma; in his eyes their captious formulas and ungraspable shiftings were but the action of hypocrites, in whose company he would scorn to approach God's altar. As to those miserably misled, 'Let the faith of our fathers be proposed to them with all tenderness and charity; if they will assent thereunto, let us receive them into our midst; in other cases, let us dwell with ourselves alone, regardless of numbers; and let us keep aloof from equivocating souls, who are not possessed of that simplicity without guile, indispensably required in the early days of the Gospel from all who would approach to the the faith. The believers, so it is written, had but one heart and one soul. Let those, therefore, who would reproach us for not desiring pacification, mark well who are the real authors of the disturbance and so not point the question of reconciliation on our side any more.' (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
Read this passage over again. Read it again. Go on, read it a third time, please.
All right. I want to highlight this sentence for your consideration:
What he so vigorously exacted on the grounds of faith proceeded solely from his very love of peace. And therefore, as he himself tells us, he absolutely refused to enter into communion with those narrow-minded men who dread nothing so much as a clear, precise expression of dogma; in his eyes their captious formulas and ungraspable shiftings were but the action of hypocrites, in whose company he would scorn to approach God's altar. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
Has not the now retired Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI tell us throughout the course of his priesthood that he dreads the clear, precise expression of dogma?"
Yes, he told us this in his own memoirs, Milestones:
Ratzinger loved St. Augustine, but never St. Thomas Aquinas: 'By contrast, I had difficulties in penetrating the thought of Thomas Aquinas, whose crystal-clear logic seemed to be too closed in on itself, too impersonal and ready-made' (op. cit., p.44). This r aversion was mainly due to the professor of philosophy at the seminary, who 'presented us with a rigid, neo-scholastic Thomism that was simply too far afield from my own questions' (ibid.). According to Cardinal Ratzinger, whose current opinions appear unchanged from those he held as a seminarian, the thought of Aquinas was "too closed in on itself, too impersonal and ready-made," and was unable to respond to the personal questions of the faithful. This opinion is enunciated by a prince of the Church whose function it is to safeguard the purity of the doctrine of the Faith! Why, then, should anyone be surprised at the current disastrous crisis of Catholicism, or seek to attribute it to the world, when those who should be the defenders of the Faith, and hence of genuine Catholic thought, are like sewers drinking in the filth, or like gardeners who cut down a tree they are supposed to be nurturing? What can it mean to stigmatize St. Thomas as having a "too impersonal and ready-made" logic? Is logic "personal"? These assertions reveal, in the person who makes them, a typically Protestant, pietist attitude, like that found in those who seek the rule of faith in personal interior sentiment.
In the two years Ratzinger spent at the diocesan seminary of Freising, he studied literature, music, modern philosophy, and he felt drawn towards the new existentialist and modernist theologies. He did not like St. Thomas Aquinas. The formation described does not correspond to the exclusively Catholic formation that is necessary to one called to be a priest, even taking into account the extenuating circumstances of the time, that is, anti-Christian Nazism, the war and defeat, and the secularization of studies within seminaries. It seems that His Eminence, with all due respect, gave too much place to profane culture, with its "openness" to everything, and its critical attitude...Joseph Ratzinger loved the professors who asked many questions, but disliked those who defended dogma with the crystal-clear logic of St. Thomas. This attitude would seem to us to match his manner of understanding Catholic liturgy. He tells us that from childhood he was always attracted to the liturgical movement and was sympathetic towards it. One can see that for him, the liturgy was a matter of feeling, a lived experience, an aesthetically pleasing "Erlebnis," but fundamentally irrational (op. cit. passim.). (The Memories of a Destructive Mind: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's Milestones, found on a Society of Saint Pius X website.)
Who believes that dogmatic truths are never adequately expressed at any one time as the result of the limitations of human language and the historical circumstances in which a formulation is made?
Joseph Ratzinger and his successor, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who speaks down to us about the "no church" of the "past" and the "yes church" of today?
Ratzinger and Bergoglio both believe in the mutability of dogmatic truths, a falsehood that leads to "ungraspable shiftings" of belief and pastoral praxis. The result has been massive confusion and uncertainty among Catholics as to what the Catholic Church teaches. Some even are so befuddled by the smoke blown in their direction by the conciliar revolutionaries that they permit themselves to believe that the Faith is beyond human understanding and that it can be expressed only in terms of uncertainty, paradox and ambiguity, although I would assert that there is nothing uncertain, paradoxial or ambiguous about Jorge Mario Bergolgio's rank pantheism. Bergoglio has no use for Catholic doctrine as his version of Modernism is entirely viscerally-based.
Saint Basil is speaking to us quite directly in the just-quoted passage from Dom Gueranger's The Liturgical Year.
Although we are better than no other human being, full of faults and failings that must be rooted out as we persevere in our daily efforts to cooperate with the graces won for us on Calvary by the shedding of every single drop of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, we must nevertheless protect ourselves from the influence of the equivocators and apostates in our midst who wish us to be silent in the name of realizing some supposedly well thought-out strategy.
This does not meant that we have license to be arrogant or snobbish or haughty or self-righteous. Not at all. This does mean, though, that we do not advance the cause of the Catholic Faith by stating that the "cause of peace" requires us all to "get along." The real disturbers of the peace of the Church are the officials of the counterfeit church of conciliarism around us today, not Catholics who understand that men who have defected from the Faith cannot hold ecclesiastical office legitimately.
"Let those, therefore, who would reproach us for not desiring pacification, mark well who are the real authors of the disturbance and so not point the question of reconciliation on our side any more." It is those who adhere to the the counterfeit church of conciliarism itself and its false ethos who must be reconciled to the truths of the Catholic Faith, which are being defended by true Catholic bishops and priests in the underground today in the same manner as Saint Basil defended the Truth of Tradition in his own day.
Dom Prosper Gueranger continued quoting Saint Basil in The Liturgical Year:
In another place he thus continues: 'To every specious argument that would seem to counsel silence on our part, we oppose this other--namely, that charity counts as nothing either her own proper interests or the difficulties of the times. Even though no man is willing to follow our example, what then? Are we ourselves, just for that, to let duty alone? In the fiery furnace the children of the Babylonian captivity chanted their canticle to the Lord, without making any reckoning of the multitude who set truth aside: they were quite sufficient for one another, merely three as they were!' (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
Comforting words to those Catholics who have found their way to the pastoral care of true bishops and true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism or to its false shepherds.
So what they we are few in number?
We must remember that true Charity is motivated by love of the Truth for the good of souls. We must not be silent in the midst of apostasy and error. Indeed, we cannot be silent as God is blasphemed by a false "pontiff" who dares to enter mosques and synagogues and who treats one false religion after another with signs of respect and esteem.
It is especially important not to be silent so as to be falsely "obedient" to wicked men who may appear to hold ecclesiastical authority but who deviate from the Faith and have thus expelled themselves from the Catholic Church by virtue of having violated the Divine Positive Law.
So what if we are small in numbers, Saint Basil asks?
We must do what is right regardless of the paucity of numbers on our side in this vale of tears. There is a cloud of witnesses in Heaven who have died for the same truths that are being defended by so-called "schismatics" today.
Dom Prosper Gueranger went on to write that the persecutions being unleashed by the Arians within the Church were analogous to the persecution of the martyrs by the emperors and their underlings:
He thus wrote to his monks, likewise pursued and vexed by a government that would not own itself a persecutor: 'There are many honest men who, though they admit that you are being treated without a shadow of justice, still will not grant that the sufferings you are enduring can quite deserve to be called confessing the faith; ah! it is by no means necessary to be a pagan in order to make us martyrs! The enemies we have nowadays detest us no less than did the idolaters; if they would deceive the crowd as to the motive of their hatred, it is merely because they hope thereby to rob you of the glory that surrounded confessors in bygone days. Be convinced of it before the face of the just Judge, your confession is every whit as real. So take heart! under every stroke renew yourselves in love; let your zeal gain strength every day, knowing that in you are to be preserved the last remains of godliness which the Lord, at his return, may find upon the earth. Trouble not yourselves about treacheries, nor whence they come: was it not princes among God's priests, the scribes and the ancients among his own, that plotted the snares wherein our divine Master suffered himself to be caught? Heed not what the crowd may think, for a breath is sufficient to sway the crowd to and fro, like the rippling wave. Even though only one were to be saved, as in the case of Lot out of Sodom, it would not be lawful for him to deviate from the path of rectitude, merely because he finds that he is the only one that is right. No; he must stand alone, unmoved, holding fast his hope in Jesus Christ.' (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
Saint Basil was saying that the Arian enemies of the Faith in his day were persecuting true believers with the fierceness of the idolaters of the past.
Isn't this happening now in our own day as idolatry is practiced by Jorge Mario Bergoglio and as almost everyone in the official quarters of the counterfeit church of conciliarism remain absolutely silent about such idolatry.
Indeed, many priests and presbyters in the conciliar structures, both those validly ordained and those not, who have tried profess the Faith of our Fathers as best as they have been able have been hunted down by "bishops" and punished with severe canonical sanctions. Even some truly ordained priests priests who have remained within the conciliar diocesan structures and refused to stage the travesty that is the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service have been suspended and treated with a contempt that denies the priestly dignity that was impressed upon their immortal souls at the moment of their ordination to the Priesthood and Victimhood of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And such priests will have no find no refuge in the conciliar Vatican as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, like Ratzinger/Benedict before him, insists that every priest and presbyter in what is allleged to be the Roman Rite of his false church must be willing to stage the conciliar liturgical service. No priest, whether validly ordained or not, can offer or simulate the "Motu Mass" exclusively if told to "help out" in a nearby parish where the "renewed liturgy" of Giovanni Enrico Antonio Maria Montini/Paul the Sick is the norm.
It is even true that some merely "conservative" priests who have believed it to be their duty to try to maintain the Faith within the context of the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service and who have never uttered a word of criticism against the "Second" Vatican Council have been sent to psychological gulags for "reprogramming" while perverts have been protected and promoted.
Oh yes, Saint Basil was speaking also of our own days.
Even well-meaning lay men, some of them who go to the Immemorial Mass of Tradition Mass in "approved" situations, heap white hot coals of scorn and contempt upon those priests who know the true state of affairs with the Church and who act with courage to defend the Faith without compromise in the underground. The persecutions of the world, which only hurts and kills the body, pale into insignificance when one considers the persecutions of believers upon those who are keeping fast to that which has been taught always, everywhere and by everyone prior to the introduction of novelties and heresies and errors that had been condemned consistently by the Catholic Church. Her counterfeit ape, has not held fast to her immemorial language, liturgy or doctrines.
It is out duty, as Saint Basil taught by word and by example, to defend the Faith in the midst of apostasy and betrayal, making sure first of all to fortify our immortal souls by the assiduous pursuit of personal sanctity, founded upon the twin pillars of Eucharistic piety and total consecration to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying as many Rosaries each day as the duties of our states-in-life permit. God will save His Church in His time as the fruit of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We just need to save our souls and to flee from everything to do with the rot of conciliarism and the wreckage of souls it has produced.
Dom Prosper Gueranger's prayer to Saint Basil is something we should take to heart on this great feast day in the calendar of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church:
O mighty Pontiff! Would that nowadays thou hadst imitators; for history teaches us that saints of a build like thine are those who cause an epoch to be really great and who save society. No matter how tried, how abandoned even, a people may apparently be, if only blessed with a ruler docile in all things, docile unto heroism, to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, ever abiding in holy Church, this people will assuredly weather the storm and conquer at last; whereas, if the salt loses its savour, society necessarily falls away, without the need of any Julian or of any Valens to bring about its ruin. O Basil, do thou then obtain for our wanting society leaders such as thou wert; may the astonishment of Modestus be justly renewed in these days; let prefects, Valens' successors, meet at the head of every church a bishop in the full sense of the term as used by these; then will their astonishment be for us a signal of victory; for a bishop is never vanquished, even should he be exiled or put to death!
Whilst keeping up the pastors of the Church to the high standard of the state of perfection in which the sacred unction supposes them to be, lead the flock, likewise to higher paths of sanctity, such as Christianity gives scope for. Not to monks alone is that word spoken: 'The Kingdom of God is within you.' Thou hast taught us that the kingdom of heaven, that beatitude which can be ours already, is the contemplation accessible to us here below, of eternal realities, not indeed by clear and direct vision, but in the mirror whereof the apostle speaks. How foolish it is to cultivate and feed in man naught but the senses that crave for the material alone, and to refuse to the spirit its own proper food and action! Does not the spirit urge of its own nature towards intellectual regions for which it is created? If its flight be slow and heavy, the reason is that the senses, by prevailing, impede its ascent. Teach us, therefore, to furnish it more and more with increased faith and love, whereby it may become light and agile as the hart, to leap unto loftiest heights. Tell in our age, as though didst formerly in thine, that forgotten truth--namely, how earnestness in maintaining an upright faith is no less necessary for this end for the greater part, forgotten that every true monk as well as every true Christian detests heresy, and all that savours thereof. Wherefore, dear saint, bless all the more particularly those few whom such a continuity of trials has, as yet, failed to shake in their constancy; multiply conversions; hasten the happy day when the East, casting off the yoke of schism and Islam, may resume her former glorious place in the one fold of the one Shepherd.
O doctor of the Holy Ghost, O defender of the Word, consubstantial with the Father, grant that we, now prostrate at they feet, may ever live to the glory of the Holy Trinity. These are the words of thine own admirable formulary, 'To be baptized in the Trinity, to hold one's belief according to one's Baptism, to glorify God, according to our faith'--such was the essential basis, set down by thee, for what a monk should be; but is it not equally essential to a Christian? Would that all might thoroughly understand this? Vouchsafe, dear saint, to bless us all. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Basil the Great, pray for us.
From the Divine Office (Matins) on the Feast of Saint Basil the Great
This Basil was a noble Cappadocian v who studied earthly learning at Athens, in company with Gregory of Nazianzus, to whom he was united in a warm and tender friendship. He afterwards studied things sacred in a monastery, where he quickly attained an eminent degree of excellence in doctrine and life, whereby he gained to himself the surname of the Great. He was called to Pontus to preach the Gospel of Christ Jesus, and brought back into the way of salvation that country which before had been wandering astray from the rules of Christian discipline. He was shortly united as coadjutor to Eusebius, Bishop of Cassarea, for the edification of that city, and afterwards became his successor in the see. One of his greatest labours was to maintain that the Son is of one Substance with the Father, and when the Emperor Valens, moved to wrath against him, was willing to send him into exile, he so bent him by dint of the miracles which he worked that he forced him to forego his intention.
The chair upon which Valens sat down, in order to sign the decree of Basil's ejectment from the city, broke down under him, and three pens which he took one after the other to sign the edict of banishment, all would not write and when nevertheless he remained firm to write the ungodly order, his right hand shook. Valens was so frightened at these omens, that he tore the paper in two. During the night which was allowed to Basil to make up his mind, Valens' wife had a severe stomach-ache, and their only son was taken seriously ill. These things alarmed Valens so much that he acknowledged his wickedness, and sent for Basil, during whose visit the child began to get better. However, when Valens sent for some heretics to see it, it presently died.
The abstinence and self-control of Basil were truly wonderful. He was content to wear nothing but one single garment. In observance of fasting he was most earnest, and so instant in prayer, that he would oftentimes pass the whole night therein. His virginity he kept always unsullied. He built monasteries, wherein he so adapted the institution of monasticism, that he exquisitely united for the inmates the advantages of the contemplative and of the active life. He was the author of many learned writings, and, according to the witness of Gregory of Nazianzus, no one hath ever composed more faithful and edifying explanations of the books of the Holy Scripture. He died upon the 1st day of January, (in the year of our Lord 379,) at which time so essentially spiritual was his life, that his body showed nothing but skin and bones.