The sun gives forth light; it cannot help doing so. Animals breathe in and out; they cannot help doing so. Fish swim in rivers and the seas; they cannot help doing so. What, then, are the things which a Christian cannot help doing?… [A] Christian cannot help being generous. To be a Christian is to acknowledge that everything belongs to God and the human beings are merely stewards of what they possess; so they naturally want to share their possessions with those in need. +St. John Chrysostom
Cheerfulness consists in not regarding these things as our own, but as entrusted to us by God for the benefit of our fellow-servants. It consists in scattering them abroad generously with joy and magnanimity, not reluctantly or under compulsion (II Cor.9:7). Further, we ought cheerfully to empty ourselves of that which we stored up in the hope of the true promise God has made to us of giving us a hundredfold reward for this. +St. Symeon the New Theologian
A person should have a more attentive attitude toward his brother’s flesh than his own. Christian love teaches us to give our brother not only material but spiritual gifts. We must give him our last shirt and our last crust of bread. Here personal charity is as necessary and justified as the broadest social work. +Mother Maria Skobtsova
From the Asceticism of the Open Door on In Communion. Learn more about how Mother Maria continues to inspire in our blog post The Legacy of Orthodox Action Continues.
As a newlywed, becoming a steward of an Orthodox church for the first time in my adult life, I first asked the question: “How much should we give?” When I put the question to the church office administrator, she knew from experience that what I really meant was, “What do most people give?” Giving at my new parish was on a stewardship model, so there was no minimum or membership fee. I wanted to know what the right amount was for the privilege of attending services and having the priest available for our needs, something like a membership fee to other organizations in our life. But, to be honest, I also didn’t want to give “too much.” Read More →
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
From the Gospel reading on the 3rd Sunday of Matthew.
The essence of wealth is not in material things, but what we have within ourselves. No matter how much you give a person, you will not satisfy him.
And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.
From the Gospel of Matthew 19:29-30, read on the Sunday of All Saints.
The icon of Pentecost offers powerful reflections on God’s gifts to us. As Christ promised before He ascended, the Holy Spirit is being sent, making the Holy Apostles members of the Risen Lord. We, like they, are called to receive the Holy Spirit and to seek to use the gifts He gives us for God’s glory and for our own salvation. This event occurred on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, when the first-fruits of harvest were brought to the Lord.
Posters of the 12 major feasts are available on the Parish Development webpage at goarch.org.
Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires transforming greed into gratitude.
St. John Chrysostom
Let us give thanks to God continually. For, it is outrageous that when we enjoy His benefaction to us in deed every single day, we do not acknowledge the favor with so much as a word; and this, when the acknowledgment confers great benefit on us. He does not need anything of ours, but we stand in need of all things from Him.
St. John Chrysostom