6-24 St. Basil, others on past evils recurring in our own times

6-24 St. Basil, others on past evils recurring in our own times

“Who has lost and who has won in the struggle — the one who keeps the premises [buildings] or the one who keeps the Faith?  The Faith obviously. That therefore the ordinances which have been preserved in the churches from old time until now may not be lost in our days… rouse yourselves, brethren,… seeing them now seized upon by aliens. — St. Basil the Great ca. 330-ca. 379) (in 371)

“The danger is not confined to one Church… This evil of heresy spreads itself.  The doctrines of Godliness are overturned; the rules of the Church are in confusion; the ambition of the unprincipled seizes upon places of authority; and the chief seat is now openly proposed as a reward for impiety; so that he whose blasphemies are the more shocking, is more eligible for the oversight of the people.  Priestly gravity has perished; there are none left to feed the Lord’s flock with knowledge; ambitious men are ever spending, in purposes of self-indulgence and bribery, possessions which they hold in trust for the poor.  The accurate observation of the canons are no more; there is no restraint upon sin.  Unbelievers laugh at what they see, and the weak are unsettled; faith is doubtful, ignorance is poured over their souls, because the adulterators of the word in wickedness imitate the truth.  Religious people keep silence, but every blaspheming tongue is let loose.  Sacred things are profaned; those of the laity who are sound in faith avoid the places of worship, as schools of impiety, and raise their hands in solitude with groans and tears to the Lord in heaven.  — St. Basil the Great (ca. 330-ca. 379), Epistlae 92 (in ca. 372)

“Matters have come to this pass:  the people have left their houses of prayer and assembled in the deserts, — a pitiable sight; women and children, old men, and men otherwise infirm, wretchedly faring in the open air, amid most profuse rains and snow-storms and winds and frosts of winter; and again in summer under a scorching sun.  To this they submit because they will have no part of the wicked Arian leaven. — St. Basil the Great (ca. 330-ca. 379), Epistulae 242 (in 376)

Only one offense is now vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our fathers’ traditions.  For this cause the pious are driven from their countries and transported into the deserts.  The people are in lamentation…  Joy and spiritual cheerfulness are no more; our feasts are turned into mourning; our houses of prayer are shut up; our altars are deprived of spiritual worship.  No longer are there Christians assembling, teachers presiding, saving instructions, celebrations, hymns by night, or that blessed exultation of souls, which arises from communion and fellowship of spiritual gifts… The ears of the simple are led astray, and have become accustomed to heretical profaneness.  The infants of the Church are fed on the words of impiety. For what can they do?  Baptisms are in Arian hands; the care of travelers, visitation of the sick, consolation of mourners, succors of the distressed… Which all, being performed by them, become a bond to the people… so that in a little while, even though liberty be granted us, no hope will remain that they, who are encompassed by so lasting a deceit, should be brought back again to the acknowledgment of the truth. — St. Basil the Great (ca. 330-ca. 379), Epistulae, in a letter to the bishops of Italy and Gaul (in 376)

“Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.”  — St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597), one of the greatest Jesuit theologians, speaking of the Protestants, who were then introducing changes such as vernacular liturgies, the abolition of fasting laws, the removal of statues, and other diminutions of traditional Catholicism

“[Moreover, the order of Mass, by which the sacrificial offerings are consecrated to God, were first instituted by Blessed Peter, the celebration of which in one and the same manner the whole world carries out].” — St. Isidore of Seville, Patrologia Latina 83, 752A

Be assured that we shall obtain more grace and merit in one day by suffering patiently the afflictions that come to us from God or from our neighbor than we would acquire in ten years by mortifications and other exercises that are of our own choice. — St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

“Only those are invulnerable who are far behind the lines and do not fight. Those who launch themselves forward bravely in assault against the enemy are the ones who take a hammering.” — St. Francis de Sales

I speak not with rashness, but what I feel and mean:  among priests, I reckon that not many are saved, but many more perish, not so much on account of their own sins as for the sins of others, which they have not put a remedy to…” — St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople and Great Eastern Doctor of the Church

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