In his letter “On the Perfection of the Life of Solitaries,” St. Basil gives advice that applies not just to monks and nuns, but to every Christian. No matter what we do, it should be obvious that we’re Christians and that we take our commitment seriously.
Inspired Scripture tells us many things that everyone who is eager to please God ought to do. But, for right now, I think I need only remind you of what I’ve learned from Scripture itself to address the questions that have come up among you recently. In that way I’ll leave detailed evidence behind me, easy to understand, to inform diligent students, who in turn can inform others.
The Christian ought to have a mind that fits his heavenly calling, and the way he lives and talks should be worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
The Christian should not be doubtful, and nothing should lure him away from remembering God and his purposes and judgments.
In every way, the Christian should become superior to the righteousness that was under the Law, and neither swear nor lie. He should not speak evil, or do violence, or fight, or take revenge, or return evil for evil, or be angry.
The Christian should be patient, no matter what he has to suffer, and to reprimand the wrongdoer when it’s appropriate—not with the desire of vindicating himself, but of reforming his brother, as the Lord commanded.
No Christian should think of himself as his own master; everyone should think and act as though God gave him as a slave to his like-minded brothers—“but each in his own order” (1 Corinthians 15:23).
–St. Basil, Letter 22IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Even in casual conversation, do I always remember that I’m a Christian?
Can other people tell from the way I live and the way I talk?
Father, only with your help can I give you the praise you deserve. Let me live the faith I profess, trusting in your promise of eternal life.
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