This is long, and parts of it are more striking than others, but I’m going to post it anyway as it seems decidedly worthy of reflection, whether we are preachers or not. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am becoming increasingly interested in Saint Basil and will hopefully say more on that again…

They who are entrusted with the preaching of the Gospel ought, after prayer and supplication, to appoint as deacons or priest blameless men whose past life has been investigated and found worthy. …

That we should not be careless with regard to ordinations and that they should not be held without careful deliberation; for that which has not been put to the test involves risk; also, that it is necessary to expose one who is detected in any misdemeanor so that he was has discovered this may not be an accomplice to the sin and that others may not be scandalized but may rather learn to fear. …

That he who has been chosen should not of his own accord undertake the preaching of the Gospel, but wait for the time acceptable to God and begin his preaching when he has been assigned this duty; that, furthermore, he should preach to those to whom he has been sent. …

That he who has been called to the preaching of the Gospel should obey instantly and without delay. …

That heterodoxy is forbidden. …

That the faithful should be instructed  in all the precepts of the Lord in the Gospel and also those transmitted to us through the Apostles as well as all that are to be inferred therefrom. …

That, if he who has been appointed to preach the doctrine of the Lord keep silence respecting anything which is necessary in order to please God, he is guilty of the blood of those who are thus endangered, whether by reason of their doing what is forbidden or of omitting the good they are obliged to do. …

That, when there is a question of something not expressly commanded in the Scripture, each should be exhorted to follow the better course. …

That no one is permitted to force others to do what he himself has not succeeded in accomplishing. …

That he who is a preacher of the Word should be proposed to the rest as a model of every virtue by first practicing what he teaches. …

That he who is a preacher of the Word should not feel secure in his own righteousness, but should realize that the moral improvement of the faithful is the specific and preeminent function of the office committed to him. …

That the preacher of the Word should visit all the towns and cities in his charge. …

That all should be summoned to the hearing of the Gospel, that the Word must be preached with all candor, that the truth must be upheld even at the cost of opposition and persecution of whatever sort, unto death. …

That we should pray for the spiritual advancement of the faithful and also return thanks for this favor. …

That good actions performed with the grace of God ought to be made known also to others for His glory. …

That we must be solicitous not only for those who are present but also for the absent and do all things as the work of edification may require. …

That we should hearken to those who ask us to confer a benefit. …

That they who accept the doctrine of truth should be confirmed in it by our visits. …

That it behooves him who loves the Lord to be solicitous in all charity and with every manifestation of zeal for those whom he teaches, even though it should be necessary for him to persevere unto death itself in his teaching both public and private. …

That the preacher of the Word should be

compassionate and merciful, especially towards those who are suffering distress of soul. …

That it is right to be kind and solicitous even with regard to the bodily needs of those in our charge. …

That the preacher of the Word should not be eager to busy himself with minor matters, relaxing, meanwhile, the zeal he is obliged to show in more important ones. …

That we should not be ostentatious nor traffic in the word of doctrine by flattering our hearers in the interest of our own pleasure or convenience; but it befits us to act as if we were speaking for the glory of God in His very presence. …

That the preacher of the Word should not abuse his power by insolent or high-minded treatment of those in his care; but he should rather regard his position as a reason for showing humility toward them. …

That we should not preach the Gospel in a spirit of strife or envy, or rivalry with anyone. …

That human devices for enhancing style should not be employed in preaching the Gospel, lest they conceal the grace of God. …

That we should not think that we achieve success in preaching through our own devices, but we should rely entirely on God. …

That one who is entrusted with the preaching of the Gospel should possess nothing more than is strictly necessary for him. …

That we should not lend our mind to worldly affairs in the interest of those who are free to occupy themselves with these matters. …

That they who, to please their listeners, neglect to give a frank presentation of the will of God become the slaves of those they would please and abandon the service of God. …

That the aim a teacher proposes to himself should be that of forming each one according to his level ‘unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ.’ …

That we should instruct our adversaries in forbearance and mildness in the hope of their conversion until the full measure of solicitude has been exercised toward them. …

That it is right to yield and not insist obstinately when, through fear or out of caution, some do not tolerate the presence of a preacher of the Word. …

That we should depart from those who through obstinacy do not receive the Gospel, not allowing ourselves to accept even corporeal necessities from them. …

That we should abandon the incorrigible when we have exhausted all the resources of our solicitude in their regard. …

That the integrity of the Lord’s words must be maintained unswervingly toward all in all circumstances, with no concession to our preferences. …

That the preacher of the Word should say and do each thing after deliberation and close examination with a view to pleasing God, so as also to gain the approval and esteem due him from those in his care.

Saint Basil the Great, “The Morals,” 70, in Saint Basil. Ascetical Works. Translated by Sister M. Monica Wagner, C.S.C. (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1950) 162-184.

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