Church Fathers, Day 161: St. Basil warns us to beware men of clever insincerity

Church Fathers, Day 161: St. Basil warns us to beware men of clever insincerity December 29, 2014

st_basil_2Beware men of clever insincerity

St. Basil uses the example of an octopus to show us what a Christian shouldn’t be like. The octopus takes on the color of the rocks it hides among, and unsus­pecting fish swim by and are caught.

I will not pass in silence the cunning and trickery of the octopus, which takes on the color of the rock to which it attaches itself. Most fish swim idly up to the squid as they might to a rock, and become themselves the prey of the crafty creature.

Men who court ruling powers are like that, bending themselves to all cir­cumstances and not remaining for a moment in the same purpose. They praise self-restraint in the company of the self-restrained, and license in that of the licen­tious, accommodating their feelings to the pleasure of each. It is difficult to escape them and to put ourselves on guard against their mischief, because it is under the mask of friendship that they hide their clever wickedness. Men like this are raven­ing wolves covered with sheep’s clothing, as the Lord calls them.

So flee fickleness and pliability; seek truth, sincerity, simplicity.

St. Basil, Hexameron, 7.3


Do I try hard to cultivate truth, sincerity, and simplicity?

Where and with whom am I not being completely honest?


Father, grant that I may always address you with simplicity and sincerity, so that I may praise your name in all its glory and holiness.

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