Today we celebrate, among other events, the life of St. Basil the Great, Bishop of Cappadocia in the 4th century. These passages from his writings form a fitting exhortation for this season:
Man was made after the image and likeness of God; but sin marred the beauty of the image by dragging the soul down to passionate desires. Now God, who made man, is the true life. Therefore, when man lost his likeness to God, he lost his participation in the true life; separated and estranged from God as he is, it is impossible for him to enjoy the blessedness of the divine life.
Let us return, then, to the grace [which was ours] in the beginning and from which we have alienated ourselves by sin, and let us again adorn ourselves with the beauty of God’s image, being made like our Creator through the quieting of our passions. He who, to the best of his ability, copies within himself the tranquility of the divine nature attains to a likeness with the very soul of God; and, being made like God in this manner, he also achieves in full a semblance to the divine life and abides continually in unending blessedness.
He Himself has bound the strong man and plundered His goods – that is, us, who had been abased in every manner of evil – and made us into vessels fit for the Master’s use, the use of our free will being made ready for any good work. Thus through Him we have our approach to the Father, Who has transferred us from the dominion of darkness to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
In consideration of all this, I wish you a bright and happy New Year!