St-Basil-the-GreatMy tongue is the pen of a scrivener that writeth swiftly (Psalm 44[45]:2).

As the pen is an instrument for writing when the hand of an experienced person moves it to record what is being written, so also the tongue of the just man, when the Holy Spirit moves it, writes the words of eternal life in the hearts of the faithful, dipped ‘not in ink, but in the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3).

The scrivener, therefore, is the Holy Spirit, because He is wise and an apt teacher of all; and swiftly writing, because the movement of His mind is swift.

The Spirit writes thoughts in us, ‘Not on tablets of stone but on fleshy tablets of the heart (2 Cor. 3:3).

In proportion to the size of the heart, the Spirit writes in hearts more or less, either things evident to all or things more obscure, according to its previous preparation of purity.

Because of the speed with which the writings have been finished all the world now is filled with the Gospel.

[…] Thou art ripe in beauty, above the sons of men: grace is poured abroad in thy lips (Ps. 44:3).

[…] David calls the Lord ripe in beauty when he fixes his gaze on His divinity. He does not celebrate the beauty of the flesh.  ‘And we have seen him, and he had no sightliness, nor beauty, but his appearance was without honor and lacking above the sons of men’ (Isa. 53:2, 3, LXX).

It is evident, then, that the prophet, looking upon His brilliancy and being filled with the splendor there, his soul smitten with this beauty, was moved to a divine love of the spiritual beauty, and when this appeared in the human soul all things hitherto loved seemed shameful and abominable.

Therefore, even Paul, when he saw His ripe beauty ‘counted all things as dung that he might gain Christ’ (Phil. 3:8).

Those outside the word of truth, despising the simplicity of expression in the Scriptures, call the preaching of the Gospel folly; but we, who glory in the cross of Christ, ‘to whom the gifts bestowed on us by God were manifested through the Spirit, not in words taught by human wisdom’ (Cf. 1 Cor. 2.12, 13) know that the grace poured out by God in the teachings concerning Christ is rich.

Therefore, in a short time the teaching passed through almost the whole world, since grace, rich and plentiful, was poured out upon the preachers of the Gospel, whom Scripture called even the lips of Christ.

Moreover, the message of the Gospel in its insignificant little words possesses great guidance and attraction toward salvation. And every soul is overcome by the unalterable doctrines, being strengthened by grace to an unshaken faith in Christ.

Basil the Great (330-379): Homily 17 (on Psalm 44[45]), 3-4,  from Saint Basil: Exegetic Homilies, translated by Agnes Clare Way, Catholic University of America Press (The Fathers of the Church, vol. 46), pp. 281-283.

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