The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.
I always love this quote from St. Basil the Great, especially as his feast falls near the end of a season which is often celebrated with too much food, too many gifts, and too much money spent on things that are anything but necessary. Don’t get me wrong – of course the Incarnation MUST be celebrated, and in a big way. I’m just not convinced that we should reduce it to an excuse to accumulate debt and get new exercise equipment. It’s far bigger than all this stuff, and when we’re honest, we may admit that some of our excess may well have gotten in the way of a truly satisfying celebration.
Christ left the riches of heaven to minister to the poor: little ones, beggars, widows and orphans, (and thankfully) the poverty in my own soul. Following His example of poverty is essential to our conversion. The Liturgical Calendar will soon be reminding us of that and St. Basil tells us today.
If you’re looking for a good way to celebrate the feast of Saint Basil, go through your storage spaces, your closets, garage, and toy chests and find that stuff you aren’t using. Pack it up and pass it on to someone who has a greater need than yours.