Sunday, July 30, 2017

God is self controlled

St Basil talks to us about "continence" today in A Year with the Church Fathers. And he makes some really good points. He tells us that continence, or what we might think of as "self control", is a virtue that leads to the health of the soul. He demonstrates that God is the epitome of continent, because He needs nothing. He only gives.

And when you think of self control that way, you can see how powerful it can be in our lives. When we need nothing, yearn for nothing, are envious of nothing or no one... then we can make calm, wise decisions. We can choose the best. We can give to those in need. It frees us to be ourselves, rather than just being the embodiment of a need.

Basil points out that this self control is in all areas of our lives... sexual desire, over-eating, drunkenness, wealth, power, honor... all of the things that people lust after. If we learn self control, which doesn't necessarily mean we give the things up entirely (for instance, food, drink, even power... are good things when used properly), then these things are no longer our masters. We become their masters, and can use them for the good of the kingdom.

God, please teach us self control.