Wednesday, February 16, 2011

St Basil the Great, On Humility


Dear Parish Faithful,

Today, we will hear from St. Basil the Great and what he had to say about the humility of the publican and the pride of the Pharisee. This is from a homily of his that has the title of On humility. St. Basil will make the point that humility can save even a great sinner. Certainly “good news” when we can be fooled into falling into despair because of our sins. Notice how St. Basil makes it clear that pride leads to judging others “unjustly”, if it can be put that way. In St. Basil’s own words:

The stern Pharisee, who in his over-weening pride not only boasted of himself but also discredited the tax-collector in the presence of God, made his justice void by being guilty of pride. Instead of the Pharisee, the tax-collector went down justified, because he has given glory to God, the Holy One. He did not dare lift his eyes but sought only to plead for mercy. He accused himself by his posture, by striking his breast, and by entertaining no other motive except propitiation. Be on your guard, therefore, and bear in mind this example of severe loss sustained through arrogance. The one guilty of insolent behavior suffered the loss of his justice and forfeited his reward by his bold self- reliance. He was judged inferior to a humble man and a sinner because in his self-exaltation he did not await the judgment of God but pronounced it himself. Never place yourself above anyone, not even great sinners. Humility often saves a sinner who has committed many transgressions.
St. Basil the Great (+379) On Humility

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