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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 194

Letter 194

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

To Zoilus.

What are you about, most excellent sir, in anticipating me in humility? Educated as you are, and able to write such a letter as you have sent, you nevertheless ask for forgiveness at my hands, as though you were engaged in some undertaking rash and beyond your position. But a truce to mockery. Continue to write to me on every occasion. Am I not wholly illiterate? It is delightful to read the letters of an eloquent writer. Have I learned from Scripture how good a thing is love? I count intercourse with a loving friend invaluable. And I do hope that you may tell me of all the good gifts which I pray for you; the best of health, and the prosperity of all your house. Now as to my own affairs, my condition is not more endurable than usual. It is enough to tell you this and you will understand the bad state of my health. It has indeed reached such extreme suffering as to be as difficult to describe as to experience, if indeed your own experience has fallen short of mine. But it is the work of the good God to give me power to bear in patience whatever trials are inflicted on me for my own good at the hands of our merciful Lord.

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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/3202194.htm>.

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