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Giving (as Healing and Life-Giving)

“From this standpoint, the needs of others are tests of our relationship to the passions that threaten to control our inner life. Whether we close or open our hand to those in need reveals the state of our soul. Are we subject to the passions of greed and avarice? Do we view money as an end in itself? And do we treat our possessions as our cherished treasures? Do we treat riches and material goods as a means to serve God and our fellow persons? Are we selfish and hard-hearted? Or do we have open and caring hearts? For a good reason, “almsgiving” ranks with prayer and fasting as a major discipline of Great Lent. In this time of the healing of our soul, charity is an effective medicine for those who are controlled by the passions of acquiring, having, and keeping material things.” (Fr. Basil)

“A man sees someone else in genuine need and has plenty to spare. But he considers the matter and turns away. He has “increased” or “preserved” his wealth, but he has impoverished his soul, diminished his own existence since his existence depends utterly on his movement towards well-being and eternal-being. This he could pursue by following the commandments and the example of Christ (which is already the movement of grace within him). Christ’s self-emptying towards all of creation is the perfection of generosity. To act on generosity is union with Christ, a movement towards well-being… There is no Christianity that does not include the giving of alms. Sharing belongs to the ontology of the faith.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“For many the word philanthropy has come to mean “financial assistance to those less fortunate.” Giving aid to the needy is honorable but is not itself the fullness of philanthropy. Philanthropy is more than action but an illumined state of being (1 John 2:10) where we feel complete love for our fellow man. Almsgiving consists of actions that we do for the benefit of someone else, but as Orthodox Christians our almsgiving should always be done with philanthropy—with authentic love for the ones being served…Because man is both spiritual and physical, our almsgiving should be targeted to help both spiritual and physical needs… In Holy Scripture almsgiving is linked with eternal life. It is clear, almost uncomfortably so, that in order to be worthy inheritors of the Kingdom, we must provide for the physical and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters.” (Nicholas Metrakos)

“We must never think that spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, and almsgiving somehow earn eternal life. They are, however, essential practices for opening our souls to receive God’s merciful and healing grace, which we never deserve.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)  

“We find evidence of purity of heart in the person who acts upon God’s will by sharing material wealth with the needy. If we, too, wish to be numbered be among the just, we are to care for the poor. Repenting of our inordinate attachment to material goods, we apply our wealth to the acquisition of eternal riches…God’s blessing comes when we truly care for those who live in poverty.” (Dynamis 11/16/2020)


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