Saint Basil: Letter to a Fallen Monk

St-Basil-e1308883336581Come Back
Now if any hope of salvation still remains in you, any slight recollection of God, any desire for the good things to come, any fear of the punishments treasured up for the unrepentant, come back to sobriety at once, lift your eyes to heaven, come to  your senses, cease your wickedness, shake off the drunkenness that has drenched you, rise up against that which has overthrown you. Have the strength to rise from the ground.

Do Not Despair
Remember the Good Shepherd, that He will follow after you and drive you into safety. Though it be but ” two legs, or the tip of the ear» (Amos 3:12), spring back from him who wounded you. Be mindful of God’s compassion, that it heals with oil and wine.

The Wounded Is Healed
Do not despair of salvation. Call to mind what is written, «that he that falleth shall rise again, and he that turneth away shall turn again» (Jeremias 8:4); the wounded is healed, he that is caught by wild beasts escapes, he who confesses is not rejected. «For the Lord desireth not the death of the sinner, but that he return and live» (Ezekiel 18:23). Do not, as one who has fallen into the depth of sin, be contemptuous.

Rise Up
There is still time for forbearance, time for longsuffering, time for healing, time for reform. Have you slipped? Rise up. Have you sinned? Cease. «Do not stand in the way of sinners» (Psalm 1:1), but leap aside. For when you turn back and weep, then you will be saved. For out of labour cometh health, and out of sweat, salvation.

All Are Ready to Receive You
Beware, therefore, lest, in your desire to keep agreements with others, you transgress your agreements with God, «which you have confessed before many witnesses» (1 Timothy 6:12). Therefore do not for any worldly considerations hesitate to come  to me. For I shall take up my dead and weep, I shall care for him, I will weep bitterly «for the  devastation of the daughter of my people» (Isaias 22:4). All are ready to receive you, all will aid you in your troubles. Do not lose heart; remember the days of  old. There is salvation, there is reform. Take courage, do not despair. There is no law which condemns to death without compassion, but there is grace which remits the punishment and accepts the reform. Not yet closed are the gates; the bridegroom hears; sin does not prevail. Renew the contest; delay not; and have pity on yourself and on us all in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be the glory and the power, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.

(Saint Basil the Great, Letter XLIV)

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