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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Fruit Please

By Saint Gregory Nazianzen

I seek the fruit which increases to your credit. The gain is yours, not mine, except that because it is yours, it is ours, too, the benefit glancing from you to us just like the reflected rays of the sun. Did you feed the poor? Did you show hospitality? Did you wash the feet of the saints?

To preach the Gospel is a matter of necessity: the honor lies in doing so free of charge but so that you may learn to serve Christ by serving even one of the least. For just as, for my sake, he became everything that I am, except for sin, in the same way he accepts as his own even my smallest acts of kindness, whether you give of your shelter; whether of your clothing; whether you visit the prisons; whether you tend the sick; whether you just perform the most ordinary gesture of refreshing with a cup of cool water the tongue of a man parched with thirst, just as the rich man tormented in the flame asked of the beggar Lazarus but, in a measure of return for a life of indulgence on this earth and his neglect of Lazarus, who was hungry and full of sores, asked of Lazarus in the other and did not receive.

This, then, is what we require of you; and I know that you are not discomfited at the prospect of having an account asked of you either by us, or on the last day when all our affairs are gathered up. As Scripture says: And I am coming to gather your intentions and your actions; and behold man, and his work, and his reward with him.
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