Today in the year of Our Lord 2016, is the Feast day Saint Basil the Great Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church
Basil of Caesarea was an influential theologian who supported the Nicene Creed and opposed the heresies of the early Christian church, fighting against both Arianism and the followers of Apollinaris of Laodicea. His ability to balance his theological convictions with his political connections made Basil a powerful advocate for the Nicene position.
In addition to his work as a theologian, Basil was known for his care of the poor and underprivileged. Basil established guidelines for monastic life which focus on community life, liturgical prayer, and manual labour. Together with Pachomius, he is remembered as a father of communal monasticism in Eastern Christianity. He is considered a saint by the traditions of both Eastern and Western Christianity.
Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa are collectively referred to as the Cappadocian Fathers. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches have given him, together with Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, the title of Great Hierarch. He is recognised as a Doctor of the Church in the Catholic Church. He is sometimes referred to by the epithet “Ουρανοφαντωρ” (Ouranofantor), “revealer of heavenly mysteries”.
Basil was born into the wealthy family of Basil the Elder, a famous rhetor and Emmelia of Caesarea, in Pontus, around 330. His parents were renowned for their piety. His maternal grandfather was a Christian martyr, executed in the years prior to Constantine I’s conversion.
Basil received formal education in Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia (modern-day Kayseri, Turkey) around 350-51. There he met Gregory of Nazianzus, who would become a lifetime friend. Together, Basil and Gregory went to Constantinople for further studies, including the lectures of Libanius. The two also spent almost six years in Athens starting around 349, where they met a fellow student who would become the emperor Julian the Apostate.
Later, when Basil was drawn to the communal life he wrote what would become pivotal in developing monastic traditions of the Eastern Church.
Basil attended the Council of Constantinople in 360. He at first sided with Eustathius and the Homoiousians, a semi-Arian faction who taught that the Son was of like substance with the Father, neither the same (one substance) nor different from him. Basil eventually abandoned the Homoiousians, and emerged instead as a strong supporter of the Nicene Creed.
In 362, Bishop Meletius of Antioch ordained Basil as a deacon. Eusebius then summoned Basil to Caesarea and ordained him as presbyter of the Church there in 365.
Basil and Gregory Nazianzus spent the next few years combating the Arian heresy, which threatened to divide Cappadocia’s Christians. In close fraternal cooperation, they agreed to a great rhetorical contest with accomplished Arian theologians and rhetors. In the subsequent public debates, presided over by agents of Valens, Gregory and Basil emerged triumphant. This success confirmed for both Gregory and Basil that their futures lay in administration of the Church. Basil next took on functional administration of the city of Caesarea. Eusebius is reported as becoming jealous of the reputation and influence which Basil quickly developed, and allowed Basil to return to his earlier solitude. Later, however, Gregory persuaded Basil to return. Basil did so, and became the effective manager of the city for several years, while giving all the credit to Eusebius.
In 370, Eusebius died, and Basil was chosen to succeed him, and was consecrated bishop on June 14, 370. His new post as bishop of Caesarea also gave him the powers of exarch of Pontus and metropolitan of five suffragan bishops, many of whom had opposed him in the election for Eusebius’s successor. It was then that his great powers were called into action. Hot-blooded and somewhat imperious, Basil was also generous and sympathetic. He personally organized a soup kitchen and distributed food to the poor during a famine following a drought. He gave away his personal family inheritance to benefit the poor of his diocese.
His letters show that he actively worked to reform thieves and prostitutes. They also show him encouraging his clergy not to be tempted by wealth or the comparatively easy life of a priest, and that he personally took care in selecting worthy candidates for holy orders. He also had the courage to criticize public officials who failed in their duty of administering justice. At the same time, he preached every morning and evening in his own church to large congregations. In addition to all the above, he built a large complex just outside Caesarea, called the Basiliad, which included a poorhouse, hospice, and hospital, and was compared by Gregory of Nazianzus to the wonders of the world.
His zeal for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth. The Emperor Valens, who was an adherent of the Arian philosophy, sent his prefect Modestus to at least agree to a compromise with the Arian faction. Basil’s adamant negative response prompted Modestus to say that no one had ever spoken to him in that way before. Basil replied, “Perhaps you have never yet had to deal with a bishop.” Modestus reported back to Valens that he believed nothing short of violence would avail against Basil. Valens was apparently unwilling to engage in violence. He did however issue orders banishing Basil repeatedly, none of which succeeded. Valens came himself to attend when Basil celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Theophany (Epiphany), and at that time was so impressed by Basil that he donated to him some land for the building of the Basiliad. This interaction helped to define the limits of governmental power over the church.
Basil then had to face the growing spread of Arianism. This belief system, which denied that Christ was consubstantial with the Father, was quickly gaining adherents and was seen by many, particularly those in Alexandria most familiar with it, as posing a threat to the unity of the church. Basil entered into connections with the West, and with the help of Athanasius, he tried to overcome its distrustful attitude toward the Homoiousians. The difficulties had been enhanced by bringing in the question as to the essence of the Holy Spirit. Although Basil advocated objectively the consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, he belonged to those, who, faithful to Eastern tradition, would not allow the predicate homoousios to the former; for this he was reproached as early as 371 by the Orthodox zealots among the monks, and Athanasius defended him. He maintained a relationship with Eustathius despite dogmatic differences.
Basil corresponded with Pope Damasus in the hope of having the Pope condemn heresy wherever found, both East and West. The Pope’s apparent indifference upset Basil’s zeal and he turned around in distress and sadness.
Basil died before the factional disturbances ended. He suffered from liver disease; excessive ascetic practices also contributed to his early demise. Historians disagree about the exact date Basil died. The great institute before the gates of Caesarea, the Ptochoptopheion, or “Basileiad”, which was used as poorhouse, hospital, and hospice became a lasting monument of Basil’s episcopal care for the poor.
In an effort to include all Catholics, those who go to the Latin Mass and those who attend the Vernacular, you may notice some Saints not mentioned in your Missal or Liturgical Calendar – this is because we are including all Saints from both Calendars. Because of this some Feast days will be repeated throughout the year.
Today in Catholic History
Is there a noteworthy historical date that isn’t mentioned, leave a comment and let us know.
Mass Readings according to the Pope John XXIII edition of the Roman Missal in 1962 through the Douay-Rheims Bible
(Except the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia)
According to the USCCB -The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the ICBC The Irish Conference of Catholic Bishops and the CBCEW The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Reading 1 : 1 Kings 21 : 17 – 29
 And the word of the Lord came to Elias the Thesbite, saying:  Arise, and go down to meet Achab king of Israel, who is in Samaria: behold he is going down to the vineyard of Naboth, to take possession of it:  And thou shalt speak to him, saying: Thus saith the Lord: Thou hast slain, moreover also thou hast taken possession. And after these words thou shalt add: Thus saith the Lord: In this place, wherein the dogs have licked the blood of Naboth, they shall lick thy blood also.  And Achab said to Elias: Hast thou found me thy enemy? He said: I have found thee, because thou art sold, to do evil in the sight of the Lord.
 Sold, to do evil in the sight: That is, so addicted to evil, as if thou hadst sold thyself to the devil, to be his slave to work all kinds of evil.
 Behold I will bring evil upon thee, and I will cut down thy posterity, and I will kill of Achab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up, and the last in Israel.  And I will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nabat, and like the house of Baasa the son of Ahias: for what thou hast done, to provoke me to anger, and for making Israel to sin. And of Jezabel also the Lord spoke, saying: The dogs shall eat Jezabel in the field of Jezrahel. If Achab die in the city, the dogs shall eat him: but if he die in the field, the birds of the air shall eat him.  Now there was not such another as Achab, who was sold to do evil in the sight of the Lord: for his wife Jezabel set him on,
 And he became abominable, insomuch that he followed the idols which the Amorrhites had made, whom the Lord destroyed before the face of the children of Israel.  And when Achab had heard these words, he rent his garments, and put haircloth upon his flesh, and fasted and slept in sackcloth, and walked with his head cast down.  And the word of the Lord came to Elias the Thesbite, saying:  Hast thou not seen Achab humbled before me? therefore, because he hath humbled himself for my sake, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son’ s days will I bring the evil upon his house.
Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 51 : 3 – 4, 5 – 6AB, 11 and 16
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
and blot out all my guilt.
Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God;
then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Alleluia : John 13 : 34
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
2 Corinthians 5 : 19
Gospel : Mathew 5 : 43 – 48
 You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy.  But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.
 For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this?  And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this?  Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.
 The publicans: These were the gatherers of the public taxes: a set of men, odious and infamous among the Jews, for their extortions and injustice.
Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel by Pope Leo XIII
O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel angels, who were powerless to stand against thee, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast forth, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast forth upon Earth, and his angels were sent with him.
But behold! the ancient enemy of mankind and a murderer from the beginning has been fiercely aroused. Changing himself into an angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay, and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity.
Be favorable to Thy Church, the Bride of the Lamb without spot, whose enemies have filled to overflowing with gall and inebriated with wormwood. They have laid profane hands upon Her most sacred treasures. Where the See of the most blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth has been constituted as a light to the nations, there they have placed a throne of their abomination and impiety; so that with the Pastor struck, they may prevail to disperse the flock
Therefore, most invincible Leader, be with the people of God against this spiritual wickedness and bring about victory. Thou art venerated by Holy Church as Her guard and patron; Thou art glorified as our defender against the impious powers of earth and of hell. Unto thee the Lord hath handed over the souls of the redeemed to be placed in happiness above. Entreat the God of peace, to obliterate satan beneath our feet, lest he prevail further to hold men captive, and to injure the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that the mercy of the Lord may swiftly overtake us, and apprehend the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan, and send him bound into the abyss, so that he may seduce the nations no more. Henceforth having been confided to thy escort and protection, we sacred ministers by our authority [if recited by a layman, or cleric who has not yet taken up the order of exorcist, say instead, “by the authority of Holy Mother Church ], do undertake to repel the infestations of diabolical deceit in the Name of Jesus Christ, Our God and Lord.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, depart from us, our adversaries.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, root of David, has conquered.
V. Let Thy mercy be upon us Lord.
R. As much as we hope in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
If recited by at least a deacon add the following
V. The Lord be with you all.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray
O God, and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we invoke Thy Holy Name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency so that, through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate ever-Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Michael the Archangel, of blessed Joseph, the Spouse of the same blessed Virgin, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, Thou may deign to offer us aid against satan, and all the other unclean spirits, who wander through the world to injure the human race and to destroy souls. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Alia Oratio ad Sanctum Michael
Princeps gloriosissime caelestis militiae, sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio et colluctatione, quae nobis adversus principes et potestates, adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitiae, in caelestibus. Veni in auxilium hominum, quos Deus creavit inexterminabiles, et ad imaginem similitudinis suae fecit, et a tyrannide diaboli emit pretio magno. Proeliare hodie cum beatorum Angelorum exercitu proelia Domini, sicut pugnasti contra ducem superbiae luciferum, et angelos eius apostaticos: et non valuerunt, neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in caelo. Sed proiectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui vocatur diabolus et satanas, qui seducit universum orbem; et proiectus est in terram, et angeli eius cum illo missi sunt.
En antiquus inimicus et homicida vehementer erectus est. Transfiguratus in angelum lucis, cum tota malignorum spirituum caterva late circuit et invadit terram, ut in ea deleat nomen Dei et Christi eius, animasque ad aeternae gloriae coronam destinatas furetur, mactet ac perdat in sempiternum interitum. Virus nequitiae suae, tamquam flumen immundissimum, draco maleficus transfundit in homines depravatos mente et corruptos corde; spiritum mendacii, impietatis et blasphemiae; halitumque mortiferum luxuriae, vitiorum omnium et iniquitatum.
Ecclesiam, Agni immaculati sponsam, vaferrimi hostes repleverunt amaritudinibus, inebriarunt absinthio; ad omnia desiderabilia eius impias miserunt manus. Ubi sedes beatissimi Petri et Cathedra veritatis ad lucem gentium constituta est, ibi thronum posuerunt abominationis et impietatis suae; ut percusso Pastore, et gregem disperdere valeant.
Adesto itaque, Dux invictissime, populo Dei contra irrumpentes spirituales nequitias, et fac victoriam. Te custodem et patronum sancta veneratur Ecclesia; te gloriatur defensore adversus terrestrium et infernorum nefarias potestates; tibi tradidit Dominus animas redemptorum in superna felicitate locandas. Deprecare Deum pacis, ut conterat satanam sub pedibus nostris, ne ultra valeat captivos tenere homines, et Ecclesiae nocere. Offer nostras preces in conspectu Altissimi, ut cito anticipent nos misericordiae Domini, et apprehendas draconem, serpentem antiquum, qui est diabolus et satanas, ac ligatum mittas in abyssum, ut non seducat amplius gentes. Hinc tuo confisi praesidio ac tutela, sacri ministerii nostri auctoritate [si fuerit laicus, vel clericus qui ordinem exorcistatus nondum suscepit, dicat: sacra sanctae Matris Ecclesiae auctoritate], ad infestationes diabolicae fraudis repellendas in nomine Iesu Christi Dei et Domini nostri fidentes et securi aggredimur.
V. Ecce Crucem Domini, fugite partes adversae.
R. Vicit Leo de tribu Iuda, radix David.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.
R. Quemadmodum speravimus in te
V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
Si fuerit saltem diaconus subiungat
V. Dominus vobiscum
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Deus, et Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, invocamus nomen sanctum tuum, et clementiam tuam supplices exposcimus ut, per intercessionem immaculatae semper Virginis Dei Genetricis Mariae, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Ioseph eiusdem beatae Virginis Sponsi, beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli et omnium Sanctorum, adversus satanam, omnesque alios immundos spiritus, qui ad nocendum humano generi animasque perdendas pervagantur in mundo, nobis auxilium praestare digneris. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.