First Fruits

A compilation of quotes from scripture, the Holy Fathers, or contemporary Orthodox Christian sources to remind us to offer to God what is best and first each week. Use these quotes for personal inspiration or for your parish stewardship communications.

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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

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

st-theophan-the-recluse

People give all sorts of reasons to excuse their lack of charity, their hardheartedness!  Some say, “hard times.” But if the times are hard for those who have a sufficiency, how much harder are they for the poor?  This pretext alone should lead one to give all the more generously.
+St. Theophan the Recluse

Sunday of Orthodoxy

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Come let us cleanse ourselves by almsgiving and acts of mercy to the poor,
Not sounding a trumpet or making a show of our charity.
Let not our left hand know what our right hand is doing;
Let not vainglory scatter the fruit of our almsgiving;
But in secret let us call on Him that knows all secrets;
Father, forgive us our trespasses, for Thou lovest mankind.

From the Sunday of Orthodoxy Matins 

PRODSON

While fasting with the body, brethren, let us also fast in spirit.
Let us loose every bond of iniquity ;
Let us undo the knots of every contract made by violence;
Let us tear up all unjust agreements;
Let us give bread to the hungry
And welcome to our house the poor who have no roof to cover them,
That we may receive great mercy from Christ our God.

From the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, Wednesday of the First Week

On the Last Judgment

mother maria

The way to God lies through love of people. At the Last Judgment I shall not be asked whether I was successful in my ascetic exercises, nor how many bows and prostrations I made. Instead I shall be asked did I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners. That is all I shall be asked. About every poor, hungry and imprisoned person the Savior says ‘I’: ‘I was hungry and thirsty, I was sick and in prison.’ To think that he puts an equal sign between himself and anyone in need. . . . I always knew it, but now it has somehow penetrated to my sinews. It fills me with awe.

+Mother Maria Skobtsova of Paris

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The essence of almsgiving is a charitable heart burning with love for every creature, and desiring what is good for it. Almsgiving consists not merely in giving, but in compassion–when we see a fellow human being suffering in some way and if we can help him, somehow, we do it.

St. Macarios of Optina

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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

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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

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The truly rich are not those who keep their riches to themselves but those who give to others. Happiness comes not from possessing wealth but from giving it away. Whatever is generously given away becomes a fruit of the soul. +St. Clement of Alexandria

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