A Homily on the Halcyon (Kingfisher) by Basil the Great

The halcyon is a sea bird which nests by the shore, laying its eggs in the sand and bringing forth its young in the middle of winter when the sea beats against the land in violent and frequent storms. But during the seven days while the halcyon broods, for it takes seven days to hatch its young, all the winds sink to rest and the Sea grows calm. And as it is then in need of food for its young ones, the most bountiful God grants this little creature another seven days of calm that it may feed its young ones. Since all sailors know this, they give this time the name of the halcyon days. These things are ordered by the providence of God for the creatures that are without reason that you may be led to seek of God the things you need of God for your own salvation. And, when for this small bird, he holds back the great and fearful sea, and bids it be calm in winter, what will he not do for you made in his own image? And if he so tenderly cherish the halcyon, how much more will he not give you when you call on him with all your heart?

Basil the Great


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