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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Serve Christ in the Poor

"Blessed are the merciful, because they shall obtain mercy", says the Scripture. Mercy is not the least of the beatitudes. Again: "Blessed is he who is considerate to the needy and the poor". Once more: "Generous is the man who is merciful and lends". In another place: "All day the just man is merciful and lends". Let us lay hold of this blessing, let us earn the name of being considerate, let us be generous.

Not even night should interrupt you in your duty of mercy. Do not say: Come back and I will give you something tomorrow. There should be no delay between your intention and your good deed. Generosity is the one thing that cannot admit of delay.

Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the needy and the homeless into your house, with a joyful heart. He who does acts of mercy should do so with cheerfulness. The grace of a good deed is doubled when it is done with promptness and speed. What is given with a bad grace or against one's will is distasteful and far from praiseworthy....

If you think that I have something to say, servants of Christ, his brethren and coheirs, let us visit Christ whenever we may; let us care for him, feed him, clothe him, welcome him, honor him, not only at a meal, as some have done, or by anointing him, as Mary did, or only by lending him a tomb, like Joseph of Arimathaea, or by arranging for his burial, like Nicodemus, who loved Christ half-heartedly, or by giving him gold, frankincense and myrrh, like the Magi before all these others.

The Lord of all asks for mercy, not sacrifice, and mercy is greater than myriads of fattened lambs. Let us then show him mercy in the persons of the poor and those who today are lying on the ground, so that when we come to leave this world they may receive us into everlasting dwelling places in Christ our Lord himself, to whom be glory for ever and ever and ever. Amen.

From a Sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop (329-389)
Saint Gregory was born at Nazianzus, Cappadocia in 329. He died at Nazianzus on January 25, 389. Declared a Doctor of the Church, Gregory is often surnamed "the Theologian" for his eloquent defense of orthodoxy and the Council of Nicaea.
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Anonymous said...

Thank you for adding me to your list (and keep me there!). HIA has been on my blog roll( a while now. I'll forward the URL to some friends in India ... so y'all can go international as well. :) Gaurav

Anonymous said...

It [HIA] will be passed all the way around "my world". Alaska to Florida and Texas to Rhode Island. I will also send to friends in Iraq, Kuwait, Korea, Germany and other places overseas. They are all American soldiers so this should get around the US and the World. Thanks for including me in the mailing. Neva