Sunday, August 2, 2009

Good morning, gentle readers

I don't often get on here and talk about religion (my Orthodox Christian faith in particular) because, frankly, I have no clue what I'm talking about. Nonetheless, I read this this morning and wanted to pass it along so that others might benefit by it. It's from the Sermon on Charity by St. Basil the Great.

Imitate the earth: bear fruit as it does, and do not be inferior to what is less than human. The earth bears fruit not for itself but for you. But when you do good, you gather for yourselves, since good works reward their doers. Give to the hungry; what you give becomes yours and returns to you with interest. As wheat thrown to the ground profits the sower, so bread given to the poor yields you a reward. "Sow uprightness for yourselves."

Like it or not, you must leave wealth behind you, but the glory derived from good works you take with you to the Lord. Before our common Judge, the multitude you have fed will call you their benefactor and praise you for humaneness and kindness. Just look at how people throw fortunes away on sports and on the theater in order to win the ephemeral praise and applause of the mob! Are you going to be stingy, then, when such genuine glory is your reward?

God will approve of you, the angels will praise you, and people will declare you blessed. You will receive eternal glory, the crown of justice, and the kingdom of heaven, all for giving away in proper fashion the corruptible things of earth. You need have no anxiety about the blessings in store for those who refuse to set their hearts on temporal possessions. Therefore, be generous and free-handed to the poor. Let it be said of you: "He has distributed his goods to the poor; his goodness shall remain forever."

How thankful you should be to your gracious benefactor, and what a cheerful, joyous face you should wear, seeing that you are not seeking another's good but letting others take yours. In fact, you are gloomy and touchy; you avoid meeting people lest they coax some bit of money from you! You have a stock answer: "I neither have nor give, for I am poor." Indeed, you are! Poor in love, poor in human feeling, poor in faith in God, poor in eternal life!

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