ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA
To Meletius, Bishop of Antioch.
If your holiness only knew the greatness of the happiness you cause me whenever you write to me, I know that you would never have let slip any opportunity of sending me a letter; nay, you would have written me many letters on each occasion, knowing the reward that is kept in store by our loving Lord for the consolation of the afflicted. Everything here is still in a very painful condition, and the thought of your holiness is the only thing that recalls me from my own troubles; a thought made more distinct to me by my communication with you through that letter of yours which is so full of wisdom and grace. When, therefore, I take your letter into my hand, first of all, I look at its size, and I love it all the more for being so big; then, as I read it, I rejoice over every word I find in it; as I draw near the end I begin to feel sad; so good is every word that I read, in what you write. The overflowing of a good heart is good. Should I, however, be permitted, in answer to your prayers, while I live on this earth, to meet you face to face, and to enjoy the profitable instruction of your living voice, or any aids to help me in the life that now is, or that which is to come, I should count this indeed the best of blessings, a prelude to the mercy of God. I should, ere now, have adhered to this intention, had I not been prevented by true and loving brothers. I have told my brother Theophrastus to make a detailed report to you of matters, as to which I do not commit my intentions to writing.
Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3202057.htm>.
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