The Mass of Saint Basil. Artist: Pierre Subleyras
St. Basil the Great, Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Cappadocia
Feast day, January 2
“[St.] Basil reminds us that to keep alive our love for God and for men, we need the Eucharist, the appropriate food for the baptized, which can nourish the new energies that derive from Baptism (cf. “De Baptismo” 1, 3: SC 357, 192). It is a cause of immense joy to be able to take part in the Eucharist (cf. “Moralia” 21, 3: PG 31, 741a), instituted ‘to preserve unceasingly the memory of the One who died and rose for us’ (“Moralia” 80, 22: PG 31, 869b). -Pope Benedict XVI, August 1, 2007
St. Basil was the first to begin reserving the Blessed Sacrament in tabernacles at Churches. He promulgated belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, saying not only that it was the mark of a Christian to eat the Bread and drink the Cup of Christ, but also to keep in perpetual remembrance Him who died for us and rose again. He wrote these beautiful words about our Eucharistic King:
"Eternal Son of the living God, Whom I here acknowledge really present! I adore Thee with all the powers of my soul. Prostrate with the Angels in the most profound reverence, I love Thee, O my Saviour, Whom I now behold on the throne of Thy love! O dread Majesty, O infinite Mercy! Save me, forgive me! Grant that I may never more be separated from Thee."
"What is the mark of a Christian? That he be purified of all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit in the Blood of Christ, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God and the love of Christ, and that he have no blemish nor spot nor any such thing; that he be holy and blameless and so eat the Body of Christ and drink His Blood; for 'he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgement to himself.' What is the mark of those who eat the Bread and drink the Cup of Christ? That they keep in perpetual remembrance Him who died for us and rose again." (The Morals," Ch. 22)
"We give You thanks, O Lord our God, for the Communion of Your holy, pure, and heavenly Mysteries, which You have given for the good, the hallowing and the healing of souls and bodies."
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