Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Basil the Great: Another Case for the Octaves

Next month has four overlapping octaves in the old Roman scheme. St. Basil saw perfection on the eighth day:
"On the day of the resurrection (or standing again Grk. νάστασις) we remind ourselves of the grace given to us by standing at prayer, not only because we rose withChrist, and are bound to seek those things which are above, Colossians 3:1 but because the day seems to us to be in some sense an image of the age which we expect, wherefore, though it is the beginning of days, it is not called by Moses first, but one. For he says There was evening, and there was morning, one day, as though the same day often recurred. Now one and eighth are the same, in itself distinctly indicating that really one and eighth of which the Psalmist makes mention in certain titles of the Psalms, the state which follows after this present time, the day which knows no waning or eventide, and no successor, that age which ends not or grows old. Of necessity, then, the church teaches her own foster children to offer their prayers on that day standing, to the end that through continual reminder of the endless life we may not neglect to make provision for our removal there. Moreover all Pentecost is a reminder of the resurrection expected in the age to come. For that one and first day, if seven times multiplied by seven, completes the seven weeks of the holy Pentecost; for, beginning at the first, Pentecost ends with the same, making fifty revolutions through the like intervening days. And so it is a likeness of eternity, beginning as it does and ending, as in a circling course, at the same point. On this day the rules of the church have educated us to prefer the upright attitude of prayer, for by their plain reminder they, as it were, make our mind to dwell no longer in the present but in the future."

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