From the Matins of Holy Tuesday:
Behold O my soul! The Master entrusts to you a talent. Receive the gift with fear; lend to Him who gave it; distribute to the poor, and gain the Lord as a Friend; that you may stand on His right, when He comes in glory, and hear His blessed voice: “Enter, O servant, into the joy of Your Lord!” In Your great Mercy, O Saviour, deem me, who has strayed, worthy of this joy.
This Great Lent, we’ve invited our readers to a deeper connection between fasting + almsgiving. On the eve of Holy Week, we’ve reached the 11th hour for putting the Almsgiving Challenge into practice. It is never too late!
And so let us perform our alms and deeds of kindness all the more lavishly, all the more frequently the nearer the day approaches on which is celebrated the alms, the kindness that has been done to us. Because fasting without kindness and mercy is worth nothing to the one who’s fasting.
+St. Augustine, On the Beginning of Lent
As we look toward Palm Sunday, we are reminded that the children sang “hosanna” while their fathers shouted “let Him be crucified.” Children threw their garments down for Christ to pass, while their fathers divided Christ’s garments. St. Paul calls us to be childlike, with pure hearts, rejecting evil thoughts.
What wondrous gifts our God has given us! In this poster series of the 12 major feasts, each icon is explored for its wealth of spiritual meaning. In particular, they highlight the role of God’s creation in giving back to Him in thanksgiving. To view all 12 posters, click here.
This Great Lent, we invited our readers to an intentional practice of the connection between fasting and almsgiving. Here we share some of the feedback we’ve received from those who have taken the Almsgiving Challenge.
Here’s how I plan to put the Almsgiving Challenge into practice: As I go through the grocery store during lent, I will add up the cost of the items I am not buying because I am fasting from those foods. When I get home, I will put that money aside to give to the poor. (Note from EveryGoodandPerfectGift.org: An easy way to get that money to the poor is to make a quick online donation of the amount saved. International Orthodox Christian Charities has a giving category called “Lent Almsgiving.” Making the gift takes less than 5 minutes and feeds hungry people around the world.)
In our efforts to connect fasting + almsgiving, we found “The Food Stamp Challenge,” which challenges others to eat on the food budget of those who receive Food Stamps, or roughly $1 per meal per person. Read More →
The Kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and abstinence with holiness; and so the rich shall not enter into it, but those who entrust their treasures to the hands of the poor. This is what David the Prophet teaches us saying: The righteous man shows mercy all the day long; his delight is in the Lord, walking in the light he shall not stumble. All this was written for our admonition, that we should fast and do good; and in exchange for earthly things may the Lord reward us with the things of heaven.
From Orthros, Fifth Sunday of Great Lent
The Theotokos, in a perfect manner, shows us how to give ourselves freely to God, submitting to His holy will. May the feast of the Annunciation inspire us to consider God’s many blessings to us and to respond by freely giving our whole lives back to Him.
Posters of the 12 major feasts are available on the Parish Development webpage at goarch.org.
How much is enough? How much is necessary? What do we really need? How may we use our money and possessions for ourselves, our families, our children and our churches? These are the hardest questions for Christians to answer.
Fr. Thomas Hopko
Memory eternal, Fr. Thomas! Read an excellent article on almsgiving by Fr. Thomas here: A Meditation on Almsgiving.
Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. (Malachi 3:8-10)
This Great Lent, we invite you to an intentional practice of the connection between fasting and almsgiving.
In the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to the Lord. If you observe fasting, as I have commanded you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to God, and this fasting will be written down; and the service thus performed is noble, and sacred, and acceptable to the Lord. These things, therefore, shall you thus observe with your children, and all your house, and in observing them you will be blessed; and as many as hear these words and observe them shall be blessed; and whatsoever they ask of the Lord they shall receive.
From the Shepherd of Hermas, Book III, a second century early Christian text, considered scriptural by many of the church fathers of the time
Join the Almsgiving Challenge on Facebook or visit the Almsgiving Challenge page on this blog for updates on how other readers are putting consume less + give more into practice. Email us at email@example.com with details about how you plan to put the Almsgiving Challenge into practice. We’ll share your experience anonymously with our readers.