St. Basil on the Examination of the Soul

Ps. 7:1-2 O Lord my God, in You have I trusted: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me, lest at any time the enemy seize my soul as a lion, while there is none to ransom, nor to save.

St. Basil the Great ca. 330-379

The dying person, knowing only that there is only one Savior and Liberator cries out: In Thee have I put my hope, save me” from my weakness “and rescue me” from captivity. For I think that the valiant athletes of God, after having kept up the good fight the whole course of their existence against the invisible enemies and escaping every trap, when they arrive at life’s end, are examined by the Prince of this world. If they are found, following the battle, to still have some wounds, stains or remnants of sin, are detained by him. However , if they are to the contrary whole and untainted, these invincible heroes remain free and are admitted by Christ to the place of rest. The Pslamist is praying therfore for the present life and for the future life. Save me, he says, from those who persecute me here and deliver me there, at the moment of my examination, from the fear that [the ruler of this world] might seize my soul like a lion. This is what the we can learn from the Lord Himself, Who said on the eve of His Passion: “The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” He Who had not comitted any sin said that he had nothing. As for man, it is enough for him to be able to say: “The ruler of this world comes and he will have nothing in me but a small number of little things. (Homilies, On Psalm 7, 2 PG 29, 232B, D.)

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