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The gift is doubled by the manner of giving.  +St. John Chrysostom

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We must begin with thanksgiving for everything. The beginning of joy is to be content with your situation.

St. Ambrose of Optina

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 Savior, deem me, who has strayed, worthy of this joy.

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

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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 Annunciation

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.

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Posters of the 12 major feasts are available on the Parish Development webpage at goarch.org.

Teaching by Example

Girl_Lighting_a_CandleWhen her children were grade school age, Alexandra’s church asked Sunday School students to pledge a weekly stewardship amount. Each student was given a box of 52 envelopes for bringing their weekly offering to church.

Her career in finance helped her appreciate this structure. Together, each Saturday evening, Alexandra and her children would take the boxes of envelopes out of their cabinet and fill one for each child with the amount they committed for the week.  Read More →

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Is not this the fast that I choose: …Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.

Isaiah 58:6-9

Adam, where are you?

The question…that is asked of everyone at the beginning of Lent and throughout the season: Adam, where are you? (Gen. 3:9). Where is your heart? What do you live for? What do you love? For as Jesus, the true and perfect Adam, has said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt. 6:21).

From the Lenten Spring by Fr. Thomas Hopko.

A Meditation on Almsgiving

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Christ commanded his disciples to give alms. To “give alms” means literally “to do” or “to make merciful deeds” or “acts of mercy.” According to the Scriptures, the Lord is compassionate and merciful, long suffering, full of mercy, faithful and true. He is the one who does merciful deeds (see Psalm 103). Acts of mercy are an “imitation of God” who ceaselessly executes mercy for all, without exception, condition or qualification. He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Mercy is a sign of love. God is Love. A deed of merciful love is the most God-like act a human being can do. “Being perfect” in Matthew’s Gospel corresponds to “being merciful” in Luke’s Gospel. “Perfection” and “being merciful” are the same thing. Read More →

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