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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blessed are the Merciful, Part I

A Sermon by Saint Gregory of Nazianzen

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 and eager 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. To be continued tomorrow …

Saint Gregory of Nazianzen (b. 329) was bishop of Nazianzus in the south-west of Cappadocia. Gregory's voluminous writings and his reputation as an orator and a theologian rests his fame as one of the greatest lights of the Church. His works fall under three categories, namely his poems, his epistles, and his orations.
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