This is a short and sweet little reflection from Saint Basil on “What is sin?” It’s a handy definition that you may want to share with others.
This is the definition of sin: the misuse of powers given us by God for doing good, a use contrary to God’s commands. On the other hand, the virtue that God asks of us is the use of the same powers based on a good conscience in accordance with God’s command.
Since this is so, we can say the same about love. Since we received a command to love God, we possess from the first moment of our existence an innate power and ability to love. The proof of this is not to be sought outside ourselves, but each one can learn this from himself and in himself. It is natural for us to want things that are good and pleasing to the eye, even though at first different things seem beautiful and good to different people. In the same way, we love what is related to us or near to us, though we have not been taught to do so, and we spontaneously feel well disposed to our benefactors.
What, I ask, is more wonderful than the beauty of God? What thought is more pleasing and wonderful than God’s majesty? What desire is as urgent and overpowering as the desire implanted by God in a soul that is completely purified of sin and cries out in its love: I am wounded by love? The radiance of divine beauty is altogether beyond the power of words to describe.
Sanctus Basilius Magnus Regula (Resp. 2, 1: Patrologia Graeca 31, 908-910)
Saint Basil is my one of my favorites!
By the way, if you you bring this up in a conversation, be sure to say “Saint Bay-sul.” That’s the temptation for Texans. Instead, pronounce it “Saint Bazzel,” rhyming with dazzle.
Same goes for “Saint Augustine.” Say “Saint Ugus-tin,” not “Saint Ohh-gus-teen.”