St. Basil the Great, Doctor, on Stewardship of the Conscience


St. Basil the Great.2

St. Basil the Great, who lived from 330 AD – 379 AD is one of the four original Doctors declared by the Eastern Church.  In addition to exegetical and doctrinal works dozens of his homilies are preserved.  Today’s daily prescription of St. Basil, Doctor, is a short edited excerpt from his homily on Deuteronomy 15: 9.  He prescribes the following:

     “We are to be diligent guardians of the resources given to us by God, ever shunning sin as brutes shun poisons, and ever hunting after righteousness, as they seek for the herbage that is good for food. Take heed to yourself, that you may be able to discern between the noxious and the      wholesome.

This taking heed is to be understood in a twofold sense.  Gaze with the eyes of the body at visible objects.   ‘Take heed to yourself.’Look at yourself from every point of view.  Keep your soul’s eye sleepless.  Hidden nets are set for you in all directions by the enemy.

Look well around you, that you may be delivered ‘as a gazelle from the net and a bird from the snare.  It is because of her keen sight that the gazelle cannot be caught in the net.  And the bird, if only she take heed, mounts on her light wing far above the wiles of the hunter.”

And so:

  • Have you thought of your conscience as a resource, that which you are to be a “guardian”?
  • Have you thought of your conscience in terms of “stewardship”?
  • Do you exercise the resource each day in an examination of conscience?

St. Basil, pray for us.

St. Basil the Great, pray for us.


Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

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