Monday, February 1, 2010
Quote of the Week - St. Basil the Great
"Into the life eternal the Holy Scriptures lead us, which teach us through divine words. But so long as our immaturity forbids our understanding their deep thought, we exercise our spiritual perceptions upon profane writings, which are not altogether different, and in which we perceive the truth as it were in shadows and in mirrors. . . . Consequently we must be conversant with poets, with historians, with orators, indeed with all men who may further our soul’s salvation. . . . Now, then, altogether after the manner of bees must we use these writings, for the bees do not visit all the flowers without discrimination, nor indeed do they seek to carry away entire those upon which they light, but rather, having taken so much as is adapted to their needs, they let the rest go. So we, if wise, shall take from heathen books whatever befits us and is allied to the truth, and shall pass over the rest. . . . Since we must needs attain to the life to come through virtue, our attention is to be chiefly fastened upon those many passages from the poets, from the historians, and especially from the philosophers, in which virtue itself is praised." -- St. Basil the Great, from Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature 2, 4, & 5; translation by Frederick Morgan Padelford (here).