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A LIKENESS OF ETERNITY

from St Basil's Homilies on the Holy Spirit, * 27.66. Translated by B. Jackson, Greek Fonts ||| St Basil Home Page


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Of necessity, then, the church teaches her own foster children to offer their prayers on that day standing, to the end that through continual reminder of the endless life we may not neglect to make provision for our removal thither. Moreover all Pentecost is a reminder of the resurrection expected in the age to come. For that one and first day, if seven times multiplied by seven, completes the seven weeks of the holy Pentecost; for, beginning at the first, Pentecost ends with the same, making fifty revolutions through the like intervening days. And so it is a likeness of eternity, beginning as it does and ending, as in a circling course, at the same point. On this day the rules of the church have educated us to prefer the upright attitude of prayer, for by their plain reminder they, as It were, make our mind to dwell no longer in the present but in the future. Moreover every time we fall upon our knees and rise from off them we shew by the very deed that by our sin we fell down to earth, and by the loving kindness of our Creator were called hack to heaven.

Ἀναγκαίως οὖν τὰς ἐν αὐτῇ προσευχὰς ἑστῶτας ἀποπληροῦν τοὺς ἑαυτῆς τροφίμους ἡ Ἐκκλησία παιδεύει͵ ἵνα τῇ συνεχεῖ ὑπομνήσει τῆς ἀτελευτήτου ζωῆς͵ τῶν πρὸς τὴν μετάστασιν ἐκείνην ἐφοδίων μὴ ἀμελῶμεν. Καὶ πᾶσα δὲ ἡ πεντηκοστὴ τῆς ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι προσδοκωμένης ἀναστάσεώς ἐστιν ὑπόμνημα. Ἡ γὰρ μία ἐκείνη καὶ πρώτη ἡμέρα͵ ἑπτάκις ἑπταπλασιασθεῖσα͵ τὰς ἑπτὰ τῆς ἱερᾶς πεντηκοστῆς ἑβδομάδας ἀποτελεῖ. Ἐκ πρώτης γὰρ ἀρχομένη͵ εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν καταλήγει͵ δι΄ ὁμοίων τῶν ἐν τῷ μέσῳ ἐξελιττομένη πεντηκοντάκις. Διὸ καὶ αἰῶνα μιμεῖται τῇ ὁμοιότητι͵ ὥσπερ ἐν κυκλικῇ κινήσει ἀπὸ τῶν αὐτῶν ἀρχομένη σημείων͵ καὶ εἰς τὰ αὐτὰ καταλήγουσα. Ἐν ᾗ τὸ ὄρθιον σχῆμα τῆς προσευχῆς προτιμᾶν οἱ θεσμοὶ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἡμᾶς ἐξεπαίδευσαν͵ ἐκ τῆς ἐναργοῦς ὑπομνήσεως οἱονεὶ μετοικίζοντες ἡμῶν τὸν νοῦν ἀπὸ τῶν παρόντων ἐπὶ τὰ μέλλοντα. Καὶ καθ΄ ἑκάστην δὲ γονυκλισίαν καὶ διανάστασιν͵ ἔργῳ δείκνυμεν͵ ὅτι διὰ τῆς ἁμαρτίας εἰς γῆν κατερρύημεν͵ καὶ διὰ τῆς φιλανθρωπίας τοῦ κτίσαντος ἡμᾶς εἰς οὐρανὸν ἀνεκλήθημεν. 

Cf. EPISTLE TO DIOGNETUS : Τhe Christian way ||| IGNATIUS THEOPHORUS : Martyrdom ||| GREGORY OF NYSSA : The Mystery of the Cross ||| MACARIUS THE GREAT : Overcome by Heavenly Desire ||| PETER DAMASCENE : What is true faith? ||| SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN : Don't put yourself in despair

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