St. Basil on the Gracious Gift of Light

And God said, “Let there be light.”

The first word of God created the nature of light, did away with the darkness, put an end to the gloom, brightened up the world, and bestowed upon all things, in general, a beautiful and pleasant appearance.

The heavens, so long buried in darkness, appeared, and their beauty was such as even yet our eyes bear witness to. The air was illumined, or rather, it held the whole light completely permeating it, sending out dazzling rays in every direction to its uttermost bounds. It reached upward even to the ether itself and the heavens, and in extent, it illuminated in a swift moment of time all parts of the world, north and south and east and west.

For, such is the nature of ether, so rare and transparent, that the light passing through it needs no interval of time. As it passes our glances along instantaneously to the objects at which we are looking, so also it receives the rays of light on all its boundaries in a moment of time, so that one could not conceive a shorter space of time. And the air is more pleasant after the light, and the waters brighter, since they not only admit but also return the brightness from themselves by the reflection of the light, the sparkling rays rebounding from all parts of the water.

The divine word transformed all things into a most pleasing and excellent state. Just as men who throw oil in deep water create a clear space, so the Creator of all things, by His word instantly put the gracious gift of light in the world.1


This excerpt is adapted from Exegetic Homilies by Basil of Caesarea and Agnes Clare Way.



  1. Basil, and Agnes Clare Way. Exegetic Homilies. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America, 1963.
Written by

Verbum, part of the Logos family, empowers Catholics to study Scripture and explore Church tradition.

View all articles
Written by Verbum