St. Basil the Great was born in 329 A.D. An influential theologian who supported the Nicene Creed, he was one of the Cappadocian Fathers and a doctor of the Eastern Church. He was known for his prolific writing and his care for the poor.

Basil lived out his deep faith in humble service. He taught people to acknowledge their dependence on God and express their gratitude in response to God’s kindness and generosity.

“Preserve gratitude like a precious deposit within your soul, and from it you will receive a double portion of delight,” he said. Citing from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, he continued, “Remember the apostolic word, ‘Give thanks in all circumstances.’”1

St. Basil’s prayer On Giving Thanks to the Creator is very moving. It says in part:

When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator.2

 Basil gives us keen insight for growing as generous disciples of Jesus Christ, grateful to God in all circumstances.

 

1 – St. Basil the Great, On Social Justice: St. Basil the Great

2 – St. Basil the Great, from Homily V. In martyrem Julittam This modern translation excerpt is found at http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com/2014/11/27/st-basil-the-great-when-you-sit-down-to-eat/