Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Elder Marcarius on Almsgiving

What is our responsibility when it comes to using our financial resources to help the needy? Are to give all we have to the poor? The spiritual issue involved is about our love of money and our priority given to efforts to the acquisition of more and more for our own benefit and a luxurious life style. As Paul said in his letter to Timothy, "For the love of money is the root of all evil" (Tim 6:10). In our alms giving we need to be reasonable as well as compassionate. We must remember that we have responsibilities to our family which need to be met.

Here is advice from Elder Marcarius,

Living in the world, surrounded by your family, you cannot possibly give away all of your possessions. So you must aim at finding the golden mean, and strive to keep to it: never turn your back on the world, but see to it that the world does not engross you. All things that your children require you should carefully keep for them. Any surplus of any kind, give away to the needy.He emphasizes the idea of reasonableness. This is important as the needs of the needy are very large and one person cannot possible fulfill them all. Our good intentions to give all we have to help others must be tempered with reason.

Elder Macarius says,

Give your mite with a feeling of deep compassion. But above all be reasonable.
Even if you gave all you had, you could not properly alleviate the intense misery of them all. On the other hand you have your family to care for and must strive to keep them comfortable, although it is right to dispense all luxury for yourself and them.A part of this reasonableness is to avoid lavish spending. Every luxury can be seen as taking something away from those who do not have what they need for basic daily life.

Finally the Elder says,

Humble yourself and find peace.
I recommend careful examination of your own expenses, with a view to cutting down a margin of unnecessary little luxuries.

Every man who loves purity and chastity becomes the temple of God.

It is just as shameful for lovers of the flesh and the belly to search out spiritual things as it is for a harlot to discourse on chastity.

- St. Isaac the Syrian

Offer to the Lord the weakness of your nature, fully acknowledging your own powerlessness, and imperceptibly you will receive the gift of chastity.

- St. John of the Ladder

The good Lord shows His great care for us in that the shamelessness of the feminine sex is checked by shyness as with a sort of bit. For if the woman were to run after the man, no flesh would be saved.

- St. John of the Ladder

Those who are inclined to sensuality often seem sympathetic, merciful, and prone to compunction; while those who care for chastity do not seem to have these qualities to the same extent.

- St. John of the Ladder

Indeed, who was ever able to grasp Christ or His Spirit perfectly without first purifying himself? Chastity is the exercise which from childhood prepares the soul for glory by making it attractive and lovable, and with ease brings this adornment for her to the next world untried. It holds up great expectations as the reward for small toil and renders our bodies immortal. It is only fitting then that all should gladly praise and esteem chastity above all other things; some, because by practicing virginity they have been espoused to the Word: others, because by chastity they have been emancipated from that condemnation, "Earth thou art, and unto earth thou shalt return".

- St. Methodius of Olympus
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