The Feast Day of St. Basil the Great
It is the Feast Day of St. Basil the Great, which happens to be the day upon which, twenty-one years ago and ten years into our relationship, Rosean and I vowed our commitment to one another before witnesses, the day upon which our union was blessed by our priest.
We didn’t choose on purpose to be hitched on the Feast Day of St. Basil, didn’t even know much about him at that time, except that with his two friends, the Gregories, he manipulated the affirmation of the Nicene Creed at the Second Ecumenical Council in 381. Why that was important was unclear. Why would the exact wording of a description of the nature of Christ, God and the Holy Spirit make that much difference in the grand scheme of things?
As I have matured as a Christian I have discovered that it makes all the difference in the world. Having two Gods – three, if we count the Holy Spirit – makes more sense to the human way of understanding things, but it doesn’t describe God as God really is. The “ousia”, or essence underlying the persons of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, is a mind-boggling mystery. This common essence in three persons is a dance of relationship in which abundant, astounding creativity spins out at every turn, unlimited, unbounded, and yet welcoming in every way to us little finite beings. The unknowing of it fuels my prayer and my contemplation.
It is this Mystery that gave me the courage in the first place to express my love for Rosean through committing to a life-long relationship. God is Love. God is ever-creating. Through our very essence we belong to that dance. In our relationship with God, individually and as a couple, we have created a seedbed of much nurturing, great creativity, and abundant welcome.
So in hindsight I’m very happy to have St. Basil the Great as a patron of our union. He served people of all faiths and welcomed their perspectives. His compassion and his fearlessness sprang from the theology that he embraced. It’s an understanding that permits God to be bigger than human conceptions – big enough to defy categories of definition – big enough to have created the universes and everything in them and to be creating still in the fluid dance of the three persons of the one essence – big enough to embrace each of us in our full humanity as the unique persons we are. Thank God it can be my theology as well.