Basil of Caesarea (d. 379) and Gregory of Nazianzus (d. 389)
The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. O come, let us worship. Alleluia
Fresco (10-11th century) of St Basil the Great and St Gregory, Eski Gumus Monastery, Cappadocia.
As you take your seat at table, pray. As you pick up the loaf, offer thanks to the Giver. When you sustain your bodily weakness with wine, remember him who supplies you with this gift, to make your heart glad and to comfort your infirmity. … As you put on your tunic, thank the Giver of it. As you wrap your cloak about you, feel yet greater love to God, who in summer and in winter alike has given us covering convenient for us, to preserve our life, and to cover what is unseemly.
Is the day done? Give thanks to him who has given us the sun for our daily work, and has provided for us a fire to light up the night, and to serve the rest of the needs of life. Let night be an occasion of prayer. When you look up to heaven and gaze at the beauty of the stars, pray to the Lord of the visible world; pray to God the arch-artificer of the universe, who in wisdom has made them all. When you see all nature sunk in sleep, then again worship him who gives us, even against our wills, release from the continuous strain of toil, and by a short refreshment restores us once again to the vigour of our strength.
Let not night itself be all, as it were, the special and peculiar property of sleep. Let not half your life be useless through the senselessness of slumber. Divide the time of night between sleep and prayer. Let slumber themselves be experiences in piety; for it is only natural that our sleeping dreams should be for the most part echoes of the anxieties of the day. As have been our conduct and pursuits, so will inevitably be our dreams. Thus, will our thoughts pray without ceasing; if thought prays not only in words, but unites you to God through all the course of life, so that your life may be one ceaseless and uninterrupted prayer.
Almighty and everlasting God, you have stooped to raise fallen humanity by the child-bearing of blessed Mary; grant that we who have seen your glory revealed in our human nature, and your love made perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image, and conformed to the pattern of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Victor Hely-Hutchinson (1901-1947). Carol Symphony.
May the Lord, who has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.