True Generosity

JOHNCHRYThe amount we give is not judged by the largeness of the gifts but the largeness of our hearts. The poor woman who shares her meager pot of stew with another poor woman is far more to be praised than the rich man who throws a few gold coins into a collection at church.  But although most Christians acknowledge the truth of this, their words and actions convey a different message.  When a rich man makes a large gift to the church, he is heartily thanked; and although he will not feel the lack of that money himself, he is praised for his generosity.  When a poor man makes a small gift, nothing is said, even though that gift may cause him to go hungry, no one praises him or thanks him.  It would be better to praise no one than to confine our praise to the rich.  Better still, we should take trouble to observe every true act of generosity, whether by the rich or the poor, and then offer our praise.  Indeed let us be as generous with our praise as people are generous with their money.

St. John Chrysostom from On Living Simply

Living Generously

Liberality is living generously; it serves as a weapon against greed. Give freely to others when it is within your power to do so, without any expectation of getting something in return. This includes giving to the homeless, neighbors, and those in our own families. We can’t simply expect this from our children. We model it when they watch us joyfully give to others and when they are recipients of our generosity. And we can help them live generously by providing opportunities for them to give and serve.

From The Ascetic Lives of Mothers, by Annalisa Boyd, Ancient Faith Publishing.

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And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

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.

The 11th Hour

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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

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!

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(From a reader): I don’t really have a budget for food, so connecting fasting with almsgiving requires some thought and planning. What I will try is to put myself on a cash budget for food during lent. Before I go shopping, I will take some of the money out and set aside for the poor. I can only buy what I need with what’s left over.

This Great Lent, we invite our readers to an intentional practice of the connection between fasting and almsgiving. Please email us at info@everygoodandperfectgift.org with details about how you plan to put the Almsgiving Challenge into practice. We’ll share your experience anonymously with our readers.

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(From a reader): God has given me so much! I want to use my talents to fulfill Christ’s command: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

Read more about how a few people were the little leaven at their parish to start a new outreach to those in need in their community. Feed His Flock, Orthodox Action in Buffalo, NY, and the Philoxenia House in Rochester, NY

Take the Almsgiving Challenge to consume less + give more this Great Lent! Please email us at info@everygoodandperfectgift.org with details about how you plan to put the Almsgiving Challenge into practice. We’ll share your experience anonymously with our readers.

GREGPALA

When you fast and are nourished with abstinence, do not store the leftovers for tomorrow, but, as the Lord became poor and enriched us, feed someone who does not want to be hungry, you who hungers willingly. Then your fast will be like the dove who brings and joyfully proclaims salvation to your soul from the flood.

+St. Gregory Palamas

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(From a reader): Connecting fasting + almsgiving is challenging, so I’m keeping it simple. A friend shared with me that she always buys something for the food pantry every time she shops, so at the very least I am trying to do that. I hope at some point to figure out how to actually go hungry and give what I could have eaten to the poor. Not there yet.

This Great Lent, we invite our readers to an intentional practice of the connection between fasting and almsgiving. Please email us at info@everygoodandperfectgift.org with details about how you plan to put the Almsgiving Challenge into practice. We’ll share your experience anonymously with our readers.

A Little Leaven

One church’s recipe for meeting a need in their local community

Starting a new outreach ministry in a parish can be as simple as responding to a need in the local community with a few dedicated volunteers and a vision for service. Christ the Savior, a small Greek Orthodox church in Tennessee, had all the ingredients to start such a ministry. They knew that their northeastern region of Tennessee had been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis of the last several years. The local food bank reported that one in four people in the region live in poverty; nearly one in five adults and two out of five children in the area have food insecurity. This means many households have to choose between food and other basic necessities. The local food pantries and shelters saw a marked increase in clients over the past few years, some an increase of as high as twenty-five percent.

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One of the needs of the food pantries in the area is for bread. Pantries rely on day-old bread donations from local grocery stores or must purchase bread when donations do not meet the need. Christ the Savior had many of the resources to match this need: two volunteers with certification and experience in baking large quantities of bread, a professional kitchen, and the commitment of parish leadership to meeting the needs of the local community. Only one thing was missing, a large capacity mixer. Read More →

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