To a congregation that had lost its pastor, St. Basil sends his condolences. Grief is natural, he says, but we have to work through our grief and do what needs to be done.
Following an ancient custom, which has been in force for many years, and at the same time showing you love in God, which is the fruit of the Spirit, I now send this letter to you, my pious friends.
I feel with you both in your grief at the event that has befallen you, and in your anxiety at the matter you have to deal with. Concerning all these troubles I can only say that this is an opportunity for us to look to the injunctions of the Apostle, and not to sorrow “as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). I do not mean that we should be insensible to the loss we have suffered, but that we should not succumb to our sorrow, while we count the pastor happy in his end. He has died in a ripe old age, and has found his rest in the great honor given him by his Lord.
As to the future I have this recommendation to give you: you must now lay aside all mourning; you must come to yourselves; you must rise to the necessary management of the Church, so that the holy God may give heed to His own little flock, and may grant you a shepherd in accordance with His own will, who may wisely feed you.
–St. Basil, Letter 62
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Does grief or depression hold me back from doing what needs to be done?
Father, when I am weak and grieving, let your strength be my consolation.
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