LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST OF THE LORD
(A READING FROM THE HOMILIES OF ST. BASIL THE GREAT [C.329-379])
But what constitutes true boasting, and wherein is a man great? ‘Let him who glories glory in this,’ it is written, ‘that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord.’
Herein lies the greatness of man, his glory and his majesty, truly to know what is great, to cling to it, and to seek glory from the Lord of glory. For the Apostle says, ‘Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord,’ in the passage where he writes, ‘God made Christ our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.’
A man glories fully and perfectly in God when he does not extol himself on account of his own righteousness, but knows that he is lacking in true righteousness, and that he is really justified by faith alone in Christ.
Paul boasts of the fact that he despises his own righteousness, but seeks that righteousness by faith which comes through Christ, which comes from God, so that he may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible he may somehow attain the resurrection from the dead.
Here all loftiness of pride has fallen. Nothing of which you might boast is left you, O man, so let your boast and your hope be founded on him, so that you mortify all that is yours, and seek your future life in Christ. Since we have the first fruits of this, we are already enjoying it, living totally in the grace and free gift of God.
It is God who is at work with you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. What is more, through his Spirit, God reveals his wisdom, which he predestined for our glorification.
God gives us strength and energy in our toils. ‘I worked harder than any of them’, says Paul, ‘though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me.’
God has freed us from dangers beyond all human hope. ‘We felt’, he says again, ‘that we had received the sentence of death, but that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead; he delivered us from so deadly a peril and he delivers us now. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.’
Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, like Saint Paul, let me despise my own righteousness, but seek that righteousness by faith which comes through Christ, which comes from You, so that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that if possible I may somehow attain the resurrection from the dead. Amen.
Taken from THE DIVINE OFFICE II – LENT AND EASTERTIDE – The Office of Reading – The Second Reading, pages 150-152.
A Christian Pilgrim