Charity

 

The earth bears crops for your benefit, not for its own, but when you give to the poor, you are bearing fruit which you will gather in for yourself, since the reward for good deeds goes to those who perform them. Give to a hungry man, and what you give becomes yours, and indeed it returns to you with interest. As the sower profits from the seed which falls to the ground, so will you profit greatly in the world to come from the bread that you place before a hungry man ... You are going to leave your money behind you here whether you wish to or not. On the other hand you will take with you to the Lord the honor that you have won through good works ...

St. Basil the Great


The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.

St. Basil the Great


Love for God begins to manifest itself, and to act in us, when we begin to love our neighbor as ourselves, and not to spare ourselves or anything belonging to us for him, as he is the image of God: "For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."

St. John of Kronstadt (20th cent.)


In the Gospel of John, the Lord says: "In this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for each other." The faithful should therefore enter into themselves and make a true judgment on their attitudes of mind and heart. If they find some store of love's fruit in their hearts, they must not doubt God's presence within them. If they would increase their capacity to receive so great a guest, they should practice greater generosity in doing good, with persevering charity. If God is love, charity should know no limit, for God cannot be confined. Any time is the right time for works of charity ... A generous spirit is itself great wealth. There can be no shortage of material for generosity where it is Christ who feeds and Christ who is fed.

St. Leo of Rome


What keeps you from giving now? Isn't the poor man there? Aren't your own warehouses full? Isn't the reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry man is dying now, the naked man is freezing now, the man in debt is beaten now - and you want to wait until tomorrow? "I'm not doing any harm," you say. "I just want to keep what I own, that's all." You own? ... You are like someone who sits down in a theater and keeps everyone else away, saying that what is there for everyone's use is his own ... If everyone took only what he needed and gave the rest to those in need, there would be no such thing as rich or poor. After all, didn't you come into life naked; and won't you return naked to the earth?

St. Basil the Great


There is your brother, naked and crying! And you stand confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.

St. Ambrose


Give a loaf of bread yourself, someone else can give a cup of wine, and another can give clothes. In this way one man's poverty is relieved by your joint effort.

St. Gregory of Nyssa


Some think that the Old Testament is stricter than the New, but they judge wrongly; they are fooling themselves. The old law did not punish the desire to hold onto wealth; it punished theft. But now the rich man is not condemned for taking the property of others; rather, he is condemned for not giving his own property away.

St. Gregory the Great


Lift up and stretch out, your hands, not to heaven, but to the poor; for if you stretch forth your hands to the poor, you have reached the summit of heaven; but if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing. Every family should have a room where Christ is welcome in the person of the hungry and thirsty stranger. The poor are a greater temple than the sanctuary; this altar, the poor, you can raise up anywhere, on any street, and offer liturgy at any hour.

St. John Chrysostom


Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead.

St. John Chrysostom


Who is the greedy man? One for whom plenty does not suffice.

St. Basil


"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels, unawares." (Heb. 13:2)


Even if you have only bread and water, with these you can still meet the dues of hospitality. Even if you have not these, but simply make the stranger welcome and offer him a word of encouragement, you will not be failing in hospitality. Think of the widow mentioned in the Holy Gospel by Our Lord: with only two mites, she surpassed the most generous and glittering gifts of the great and mighty.

Accepting the task of hospitality, the Patriarch Abraham's table was laden for all comers including the impious and barbarians, without distinction. Hence he was found worthy of that wonderful banquet when he received angels and the Master of all, as guests. We too, then, should actively and eagerly cultivate hospitality, so that we may receive not only angels, but God Himself. For in as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto Me. It is good to be generous to all - especially to those who cannot repay us.

St. Theodore the Great


Do good and with a simple heart share the fruits of your labor which God gives to you with all those who are in need, not wondering to whom you should give and to whom you should not give. Give to all, for God wishes that you give to all from His many gifts to you.

Shepherd of Hermes