St. Basil the Great, Confessor & Doctor of the Church: Missa “In medio Ecclesiae“
St. Basil the Great was born at Caesarea of Cappadocia in 330. He was one of ten children of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia. Several of his brothers and sisters are honoured among the saints. He attended school in Caesarea, as well as Constantinople and Athens, where he became acquainted with St. Gregory Nazianzen in 352. A little later, he opened a school of oratory in Caesarea and practiced law. Eventually he decided to become a monk and found a monastery in Pontus which he directed for five years. He wrote a famous monastic rule which has proved the most lasting of those in the East. He is author of a monastic rule from which St. Benedict derived many points, and which is still observed by the monks of the East. After founding several other monasteries, he was ordained and, in 370, made bishop of Caesaria. In this post until his death in 379, he continued to be a man of vast learning and constant activity, genuine eloquence and immense charity. This earned for him the title of “Great” during his life and Doctor of the Church after his death. Basil was one of the giants of the early Church. He was responsible for the victory of Nicene orthodoxy over Arianism in the Byzantine East, and the denunciation of Arianism at the Council of Constantinople in 381-82 was in large measure due to his efforts. Basil fought simony, aided the victims of drought and famine, strove for a better clergy, insisted on a rigid clerical discipline, fearlessly denounced evil wherever he detected it, and excommunicated those involved in the widespread prostitution traffic in Cappadocia. He was learned, accomplished in statesmanship, a man of great personal holiness, and one of the great orators of Christianity. During his lifetime he was called a vessel of election by St. Ephrem. He died on January 1, 379.
St. Paul admonishes Timothy to hold firm the sound doctrine of the Gospel. The Doctors of the Church were also renowned for their orthodoxy and their theological learning.
INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 15: 5
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory.. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High. v. Glory be…etc
Give ear we beseech Thee, O Lord, unto our prayers, which we offer on the solemnity of blessed Basil, Thy confessor and bishop, and by the interceding merits of him who had the grace to serve Thee worthily, free us from all our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE 2 Timothy 4: 1-8
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to Timothy. Dearly beloved, I charge thee before God and Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the living and the dead, by His coming, and His Kingdom. Preach the word: be instant in season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience, and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed; and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will render to me in that day; and not only to me, but to them also that love His coming.
GRADUAL Psalm 36: 30, 31
The mouth of the just man shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment. V. The law of his God is in his heart; and his steps shall not be supplanted. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ecclus. 45: 9) The Lord loved him and adorned him: he clothed with a robe of glory. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 14: 26-33
At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes: “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever doth not carry his cross, and come after Me, can not be My disciple. For which of you having a mind to build a tower, doth not first sit down and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether he have wherewithal to finish it; lest after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that see it begin to mock him, saying. This man began to build, and was not able to finish? Or what king about to go and make war against another king, doth not first sit down and think whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that with twenty thousand cometh against him? Or else, whilst the other is yet afar off, sending an embassy, he desireth conditions of peace. So likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be My disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt shall lose its savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither profitable for the land, nor for the dunghill, but shall be cast out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88: 25
My truth and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
May the annual festival of blessed Basil, Thy confessor and pontiff, we beseech Thee, O Lord, render us acceptable to Thy loving kindness, that through these offices of pious atonement a blessed reward may attend him and he may win for us the gifts of Thy grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12: 42
A faithful and wise steward, whom the Lord set over His family; to give them their measure of wheat in due season.
O God, the rewarder of faithful souls, grant that, through the prayers of blessed Basil, Thy confessor and bishop, whose august solemnity we celebrate, we may obtain pardon of our sins. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.