Almsgiving

fb graphic

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.

Augustine of Hippo

fb graphic

He who loves God will certainly love his neighbor as well.  Such a person cannot hoard money, but distributes it in a way befitting God, being generous to everyone in need. St. Maximos the Confessor

fb graphic

And even if a person should possess the complete treasures of the King, he should hide them and say continually: “The treasure is not mine, but another has given it to me for a charge. For I am a beggar and when it pleases Him, He can claim it from me.” +St. Macarios

The Rich Man and Lazarus

GREGPALA

Brethren, please let us be afraid of these truly dreadful evils. Let is organize our lives as is pleasing to God. Let us forgive that we may be forgiven, let us be merciful to those in need that we may receive mercy many times more abundantly, He who impoverished Himself to the uttermost for our sakes, Himself receives our alms, and in His munificence He will multiply the reward. We must either be poor as He was, and so live with Him, or share what we have with those who are poor for His sake, and so be saved through them. Let us acquire merciful hearts and give positive proof of brotherly love and devotion towards the Father and Master of all. You will never find a more acceptable time to do this than the days of the fast. If you join almsgiving to fasting you will blot out every sin, venerate the saving passion with boldness, join in the rejoicing at Christ’s resurrection and gain eternal redemption.” (St. Gregory Palamas, On the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus)

To read the Gospel reading for the 5th Sunday of Luke (16:19-31) visit the Online Chapel at goarch.org.

New Study on Orthodox Christian Giving

all bishops of america logo

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America recently announced the release a new study, “Exploring Orthodox Generosity: Giving in US Orthodox Parishes.” The 138-page report is accompanied by a brief summary that shares the highlights of the study. The study was prepared by the Assembly’s research coordinator, Alexei Krindatch (find the entire announcement on the Assembly’s website).

Highlights from the study include:

  • In 2014, a typical (median) Orthodox household gave $2000 to its local parish community in regular giving. That is, half of all Orthodox households gave more than $2000 per year and half of them gave less than that to their parishes.
  • The degree of involvement with a parish is a very strong predictor of how much people give to their churches.
  • Personal beliefs and personal theology have a very strong impact on how much a Church member gives to his/her parish. Church members who state that “using the money and material possessions in ways that please God” is part of their spiritual life give on average 2.5 times more to their parish communities than persons who hold the view that “money and material possessions have nothing to do with spiritual and religious issues;”
  • Parishes that encourage members to be more generous because it will enhance church’s mission and create more opportunities for spiritual growth receive MUCH HIGHER contributions from parishioners than the parishes asking members to give because various needs of a parish community should be addressed.
  • [T]he top three methods that an Orthodox parish can employ in order to inspire parishioners to give more are: a) greater social outreach into local community, b) stronger emphasis on mission and evangelism programs, and c) creating joint programs and ministries with other nearby Orthodox parishes.

 

Second Sunday of Luke

18_lukewriting

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

From the Gospel reading on the Second Sunday of Luke. Find the entire reading from Luke 6:31-36 at the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

 

Mother Maria Skobtsova, July 20

mother mariaA 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.

 

Testimonial: Your own gifts we offer to you

Years ago while a student in seminary, I offered my confession in the school’s chapel and was given a penance. The instruction was to offer a sum of money to the poor or to the church; I would decide how much and to whom.  Immediately after being given this instruction by my father-confessor, I decided in my own mind what that amount would be. It was $100, but I did not tell anyone about it–not even my father-confessor or my spouse. The next day, after parking my car at the foot of the chapel, as I got out of the car I noticed a bill on the ground. I looked closely, and it was $100! I was astounded. I looked around to see if anyone had dropped it, but no one was there. I thought to myself, coincidence? Up to now I have never shared this story. But the donation was made to an Orthodox Christian charity.

Do you have a story about stewardship or almsgiving that might inspire others? Share your story here. Read other testimonials here.

Almsgiving Challenge: What we’ve heard from you

almsgiving-challenge-side-bar

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 →

almsgiving-challenge-side-bar

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.

Newsletter Powered By : XYZScripts.com