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'It's about the money!' - Riches and poverty


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#61 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 04:35 PM

Effie's used the word 'stewardship'; this is so important at levels of life today. If climate change is caused by mankind's rapacious use of the earth's resources, it (mankind) has failed to be a steward and became a despoiler. We have to apply this in our own lives. I really can't buy beans in my supermarket that were 'flown in from Kenya for freshness' - I think that's outrageous. Tragedy, whether personal, as in the case Effie mentions, or global cause suffering somewhere. I often remember Gandhi's saying: 'the earth has enough for every man's need but not for every man's greed'.



Yes, Andreas, I agree completely with all you say in your above message.

Sometimes we feel such frustration with what is happening in the world today and it's hard to see our way clear to doing something about it. What can we do? Does whatever we manage to do have any effect whatsoever? What is the government doing?

A couple of days ago we drove to Thessaloniki and passed one of the power stations on our way. The pollution from the ash in the immediate area was
very evident and our comments lead our conversation to global warming and the fact that last winter, for the first time in memory, we had no snow here. We came to the conclusion that even though our efforts might be in vain, the only thing each of us can do is try to consume less, limit waste, and make an individual effort. There is always something we can do. No effort is really in vain. I can't force the person next to me to change but I can make myself responsible for myself and my actions.

#62 Nina

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 04:55 PM

If climate change is caused by mankind's rapacious use of the earth's resources, it (mankind) has failed to be a steward and became a despoiler.


There might be truth in this, however in Genesis, God gave a blessing to Adam.

Also I read sometime ago from a spiritual book that when we speak with anxiety and defeatism about Earth (depleting its resources etc.) we are disregarding God in this case. Because He did not create the earth and us, and threw us out there (the Bible assures us many times about this), but He is our loving, caring and merciful Father, Who even sent His Son to be crucified for us; also the book said that we should keep in mind that God's energies do not abandon the creation, but are always working on us and the entire universe. I think it was a book from Metropolitan Hierotheos; if I come across the passage again I will post it, so you do not rely on my paraphrasing.

#63 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 09:54 PM

Much of this thread has focused on giving money as alms but this seems to miss the point of the Gospel. It is (relatively) easy to give our tithe, give money to charities and such, good things in themselves, but not what Christ has told us to do.

The young man whom Christ told to sell all he had was also given another command, one applicable to all, "come and follow Me" (Matthew 19:21). How do we do this as Christians? Again Christ has the answer: "let him deny himself and take up his cross" (Matthew 16:24).

Christ, at the Last Day, will not ask of us how much money we've given to (deserving) charities but if we've fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, taken in the stranger, clothed the naked and visited the sick and those in prison (see Matthew 25:31-46). Have we done these on a personal level and 'got our hands dirty' or stood afar off, giving money while we relax in our comfortable homes? Have we done these for the cheater, the liar, the robber, the murderer and the paedophile as well as those we think deserving? Have we done this even for "the least of these [Christ's] brethren"? (Matthew 25:41)

With love in Christ

Alex

#64 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 07:05 AM

Much of this thread has focused on giving money as alms but this seems to miss the point of the Gospel. It is (relatively) easy to give our tithe, give money to charities and such, good things in themselves, but not what Christ has told us to do.

The young man whom Christ told to sell all he had was also given another command, one applicable to all, "come and follow Me" (Matthew 19:21). How do we do this as Christians? Again Christ has the answer: "let him deny himself and take up his cross" (Matthew 16:24).

Christ, at the Last Day, will not ask of us how much money we've given to (deserving) charities but if we've fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, taken in the stranger, clothed the naked and visited the sick and those in prison (see Matthew 25:31-46). Have we done these on a personal level and 'got our hands dirty' or stood afar off, giving money while we relax in our comfortable homes? Have we done these for the cheater, the liar, the robber, the murderer and the paedophile as well as those we think deserving? Have we done this even for "the least of these [Christ's] brethren"? (Matthew 25:41)

With love in Christ

Alex


Alex, isn't compassion about helping those around us? If you live in a small city where would you find the murderer and the paedophile? And why are we so compassionate towards the people who commit crimes and not towards the victims of those same crimes. The victim is always forgotten. The five minutes of sick enjoyment that a paedophile might feel, mean years of anguish to the victim while he or she tries to recover. People who commit such crimes need psychiatric help and not people holding their hands and telling them that the Lord forgives them. What they have done is between themselves and their God.

I feel that there is enough suffering and heartache closer to home and perhaps we should just start from there. I don't know if I'm expressing myself clearly, but helping those we come into contact with is a start and something each of us can do. And Alex, giving money to the church, or to organizations that help people in need means that we are doing exactly as Christ told us to. Our money helps them clothe themselves, it helps them feed themselves.

Another way of helping that we haven't touched upon, is electing honest and responsible people who will work within the government to make conditions in prison and other institutions more humane.

I believe the important thing is to help in whatever way each of us can, and God gives us plenty of opportunities to do this. We just need to take advantage of those opportunities.


Effie

#65 Paul Cowan

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 02:03 AM

A couple of years back I noticed this 8-10 year old boy sitting at a bus stop bench with a suitcase, and a towel for a coat. It was windy and cold. I passed him knowing he was running away from home. When I "woke up" I turned around within a block and went back to pick him up to take him to the local police station. He was gone and no bus had come.

What happened to this "angel" I had a chance to help but did not? Who else picked him up? a stranger or a parent? It was less than 2 minutes to turn around and get back to where he was. He was no where to be found. I went to the local police station anyway and reported it and they sent out a car to look around also.

I am confident a parent picked him up. (I pray, or I fear). Or was my opportunity to help an angel in disguise taken from me for not acting immediately? I will never forget that incident. We should help those we can immediately and let God worry over the details.

A gift is a gift. A gift cannot be dictated. You can't say here is a thousand dollars. And then dictate to the person what is to be used for. It is no longer a gift but a purchase of goods.

Paul

#66 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 07:13 AM

Paul, I can imagine how this would haunt you. Keep in mind though that we usually tend to imagine the worst. Perhaps someone else took pity on the boy, provided what was needed - clothes first of all and then food, and took him to the appropriate authorities. Did the police check the shelters, social services, etc.?

Effie

#67 Mary

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 01:31 PM

Paul, your story is so almost exaclty like the one we encountered some 9 yrs back. My husband and I were entering a subway station. As we walked down the step, an old man, not well dressed, was walking up, counting the change in his hands, and muttering that he didn't have enough to buy a token. He wasn't begging. But we knew what he needed. We ignored him, because we were in a hurry and dropped our tokens in and entered the station. But, we kept slowing down, till we finally stopped, and we both turned to each other and said: "Did you hear what he said?" We'd both heard the same thing.

So, my husband went back out, bought two more tokens, one for the man, and one for himself to get back in, and went back up the steps to look for him. He found him near a phone booth, more miserable than earlier, shaking his head and moaning that there was no one home. My husband quickly walked over and dropped a token in his hands and said: "Here's your token," and quickly turned and walked away. The man hadn't really seen him. He just looked up and started to say: "Thank you Jesus!" instead of 'No one is home."

I wouldn't have been able to live with the guilt if my husband hadn't found him. As it is, I do carry the guilt of another opportunity I missed. It was at the hospital while I was a student nurse. We'd gotten to know the sons of one our patients, because she'd been there a long time. He was with her all day, taking care of her, because everyone else had to go to work, but he was still jobless. He was her oldest son, and very dear to her, for he had been born after many years of waiting. The day before she was to go home, I was on the night shift and he came to my desk, shivering. He looked very frightened. I asked him to sit and he told me his symptoms and I was frightened too. I quizzed him till he finally remembered that he was bitten by a little dog in the street, the day of his mother's accident. But, it wasn't a big bite and he'd been so full of worrying over his mom, that he had paid no attention, and soon it was out of his mind. But it hadn't left his body.

He developed rabies and it was too late to treat him. His younger brother arrived and helped him get to the government hospital, which is the only place that would admit patients with rabies. They wouldn't treat him. They put him away to die. He escaped. He wanted to say goodbye to his mother. She wept the whole night through. They wouldn't let him stay near her becasue they were afraid he'd lose control of his mind and attack others. But he was in full control of his mind and he only tried to scare them away when they started to treat him like an animal. Soon, he lost control of his body. They put him on a stretcher and moved him to a secluded corridor, till they could find people to take him back to the gov't hospital.

I went to see his mother and she begged me to go to him and make sure he's comfortable, so I went. He had a few blankets on, but he was shaking so bad, and when they fell off, the slight breeze or the metal on the stretcher would send him into convulsions. He asked me to help him fix his blanket and I was scared. He promised me he wouldn't hurt me. What could I do? I knew him. I'd grown to love him like a brother. I started to go closer and someone walking by warned me not to. That gave me the last bit of courage I needed. (Or maybe it was foolishness.) I helped him with his blanket and I stayed near him, talking to him.

That's when I missed my opportunity. He asked me what would happen to him when he died. He asked me what he should do to prepare to meet God. And I didn't know how to tell him anything. He was a Hindu. I didn't want to offend him by telling him only Jesus could save him. Lord have mercy! I hope he is not in hell because of me, for he was a good man and he had a good heart. I did mutter a few answers, and when it was time for me to go back to my desk, he asked me to tell his mother that he loved her, and he thanked me for not being afraid to stand near him and talk to him.

Now I'm feeling too miserable to keep talking. Please pray for his soul and pray for me. His name is Krishna - which is one of the popular hindu gods. I often wished his name was different, because I didn't like saying his name. I don't remember his mother's name, but I do remember what she looked like. Oh, how she loved him. She never complained once of all the pain that she was in. And whenever he'd walk into the room, it was like her sunshine had turned on. She'd turn quiet and start to beam. He never spoke much either. He'd sit beside her and beam right back. And of course, I know his face too...

Lord have mercy.

#68 Paul Cowan

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 03:37 PM

May God forgive us all our missed opportunities. May He also allow many more Do-Overs.

Did the police check the shelters, social services, etc.?

Effie

I never followed up. Again, my lack of love and concern for my "brother".

THE worst of sinners.
Paul

#69 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 04:35 PM

I went to see his mother and she begged me to go to him and make sure he's comfortable, so I went. He had a few blankets on, but he was shaking so bad, and when they fell off, the slight breeze or the metal on the stretcher would send him into convulsions. He asked me to help him fix his blanket and I was scared. He promised me he wouldn't hurt me. What could I do? I knew him. I'd grown to love him like a brother. I started to go closer and someone walking by warned me not to. That gave me the last bit of courage I needed. (Or maybe it was foolishness.) I helped him with his blanket and I stayed near him, talking to him.

That's when I missed my opportunity. He asked me what would happen to him when he died. He asked me what he should do to prepare to meet God. And I didn't know how to tell him anything. He was a Hindu. I didn't want to offend him by telling him only Jesus could save him. Lord have mercy! I hope he is not in hell because of me, for he was a good man and he had a good heart. I did mutter a few answers, and when it was time for me to go back to my desk, he asked me to tell his mother that he loved her, and he thanked me for not being afraid to stand near him and talk to him.....

Lord have mercy.


Mary, you did help him. You were his good samaritan. In the madness of his sickness he knew you helped him and he thanked you. Hindu, Christian........
love, Mary. You gave him love. You respected his beliefs. Read the story of the Good Samaritan - what did he do. The man suffering was a Jew and yet his own people walked past. The Samaritan was not Jewish and yet he stopped and helped. Did he ask the man on the ground what religion he was? No, he stopped and helped. As you did.

The following is from Wikipedia :

"It is important to note that Samaritans were despised by the story's target audience, the Jews. The Samaritans were also largely taught by their interpretation of history to hate Jews.[1] Thus the parable, as told originally, had a significant theme of non-discrimination and interracial harmony."

Non-discrimination and interracial harmony. I once read of a Catholic priest who was the only one near a Jewish man when he was dying. The priest got down on his knees and said : "Hear, O Israel , The Lord our God is one Lord." These were the final words the Jewish person heard before he died.

#70 Paul Cowan

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 05:07 PM

I was in the hospital with Leah one day and was passing a room with a very elderly woman looking wantingly at me as I passed. I stopped and went back. She could not talk so I just held her hand for a few minutes and we smiled at each other.

Leah came and found me and said what are you doing?! She is in a contagious quarantine area. What are you doing touching her? I told her I felt she needed someone.

I went to the nurse and she told me to go sterilize myself and never do that again. I suppose God protected me from danger?

Paul

#71 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 12:22 PM

I was in the hospital with Leah one day and was passing a room with a very elderly woman looking wantingly at me as I passed. I stopped and went back. She could not talk so I just held her hand for a few minutes and we smiled at each other.

Leah came and found me and said what are you doing?! She is in a contagious quarantine area. What are you doing touching her? I told her I felt she needed someone.

I went to the nurse and she told me to go sterilize myself and never do that again. I suppose God protected me from danger?

Paul


Paul, Gerontissa Gabriela tells us that when she was in India, she ate the food the Indians ate, she drank well water, she washed the clothes of the lepers, she changed their dressings, she also invented a simple ointment for their wounds that proved to be very effective and was thereafter used widely for lepers. She could not get over the fact that a humble petroleum jelly based ointment had such miraculous healing powers. She hardly ever got sick, in fact once when she had a high temperature she realized that it was because of the fact that she got angry with some children for trying her physiotherapy methods on a cat which subsequently died. "The fever receded almost at once" when she acknowledged to herself that the children were not responsible but she herself for having failed to prevent it and for having "thoughts of judgement."

Her friend Sylvia Scapa wrote : I watched all the Missionaries (evangelists) boil the water before drinking it and yet suffer successive attacks of dysentery. On the other hand Lila (G. Gabriela's name before she became a nun) and I drank water from various wells, and even straight from the Ganges, without ever suffering any ill effects. I could see however that she always made the sign of the cross over the water we were about to drink, saying :
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." And after this she gave me to drink and drank herself."

Sylvia Scapa was a Jewish friend of G. Gabriela.

G. Gabriela ate little - rice, chapati, yoghurt, lentils and dried fruit - all very healthy as we know now. Perhaps her frugal diet was one of the reasons she never got sick. She was an amazing, tireless, woman, especially when we remember she was 61 years old when she was in India!

If anyone has not read "The Ascetic of Love" I encourage them to. It is such a terrific book and you will want to read it again and again.

#72 Paul Cowan

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 04:15 AM

Perhaps it would not be right for a church to accept money earned in this way purely because it might become a stumbling block for others. However, I think a similar form of donation - to the poor for example - would be a suitable way to deal with money won by lotteries or other such forms of gambling (while money won face-to-face in a game of poker with an aquaintance should be returned to the person who suffered the loss).



I was just reading the Lives of the Saints of Venerable Pelagia the Penitent. Interesting how the Bishop retitles with her worldly wealth.

Commemorated on October 8

Saint Pelagia the Penitent was converted to Christianity by St Nonnus, Bishop of Edessa (Saturday of Cheesefare Week). Before her acceptance of Christianity through Baptism, Pelagia was head of a dance troupe in Palestinian Antioch, living a life of frivolity and prostitution.

One day Pelagia, elegantly dressed, was making her way past a church where St Nonnus was preaching a sermon. Believers turned their faces away from the sinner, but the bishop glanced after her. Struck by the outer beauty of Pelagia and having foreseen the spiritual greatness within her, the saint prayed in his cell for a long time to the Lord for the sinner. He told his fellow bishops that the prostitute put them all to shame. He explained that she took great care to adorn her body in order to appear beautiful in the eyes of men. "We... take no thought for the adornment of our wretched souls," he said.

On the following day, when St Nonnus was teaching in the church about the dread Last Judgment and its consequences, Pelagia came. The teaching made a tremendous impression upon her.With the fear of God and weeping tears of repentance, she asked the saint for Baptism. Seeing her sincere and full repentance, Bishop Nonnus baptized her.

By night the devil appeared to Pelagia, urging her to return to her former life. The saint prayed, signed herself with the Sign of the Cross, and the devil vanished.

Three days after her baptism, St Pelagia gathered up her valuables and took them to Bishop Nonnus. The bishop ordered that they be distributed among the poor saying, "Let this be wisely dispersed, so that these riches gained by sin may become a wealth of righteousness." After this St Pelagia journeyed to Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. She lived there in a cell, disguised as the monk Pelagius, living in ascetic seclusion, and attaining great spiritual gifts. When she died, she was buried in her cell.



#73 Nina

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 10:14 PM

http://www.impantokr...AE17C67.en.aspx

#74 Irene

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:57 AM

Seeing a beggar and having no change, he offered his sandwich. The beggar looked at it and said, 'no, I don't like cheese and pickle'!


Yes but he offered it! A young woman talked to a homeless person and after a little while she said I'm not hungry, I don't want my lunch do you want it and they took it gratefully.

The poor if they are able to, and if they are lucky enough to have somewhere, often hide, from shame, they don't always advertise their misery. The elderly, people with disabilities, people who are struggling to look after someone with severe mental or physical illnesses.

The poor get a bad wrap from the media and because of those who make an industry out of begging. The religious poor are at Church it is their joy, it is their solice, the place where they are accepted as equal, it is often their entire social life. The widow who puts the last of her money on the plate hoping that nobody notices the tiny amount she has put on the plate. "For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." Mk 12:44 She still exists "For ye have the poor with you always".

Sometimes we need our eyes opened to see what is really around us. I know I do, I'm blind to anything that doesn't jump out and say here I am. The poor might be that woman that never smiles because she is trying to figure out whether to pay the rent, the electricity bill or feed her children.

The poor might be that person who wears that same outfit to Church everyweek and has done for years. Or may be it's two alternating ones but that is their "Sunday best" and the rest of the week they are in their "at home" clothes.

The poor might be the person that is low in spirits, that smile, that kind word that you give to a stranger has repercussions - it can make a lonely person's day. It can make them feel that they are not worthless after all. Yes just that tiny act of kindness.

If you do know someone who is struggling and you don't want to embarrass them, but somehow you want to help them out, if you visit them at their home, bring a meal, casually leave a small amount of money where they may have absent mindedly dropped it themselves and they will find it in a day or two and thank God for the mercy, that they can buy bread that day.

Offer to mow their lawn, especially if they are a neighbour, say you were doing yours anyway - when they want to pay say a cup of coffee is all you need. Yards are not always overgrown because people are lazy, sometimes people are sick, sometimes they can't afford petrol or don't own a mower.

Some poor may waste their money on cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, most do not, most struggle just to keep their kids dressed and fed.

#75 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 08:15 AM

Yes but he offered it! A young woman talked to a homeless person and after a little while she said I'm not hungry, I don't want my lunch do you want it and they took it gratefully.


Sometimes we need our eyes opened to see what is really around us. I know I do, I'm blind to anything that doesn't jump out and say here I am. The poor might be that woman that never smiles because she is trying to figure out whether to pay the rent, the electricity bill or feed her children.

.


Irene, yesterday I listened to a very good sermon on this subject on the Podcast section of the Ancient Faith website - Again Radio Journal. The speaker has had a lot of experience concerning this subject and his words gave me new insights into poverty in various countries.

http://ancientfaith....s/audiojournal/

The first interview is the interview with Fr. David Rucker of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center speaking about our Christian calling to remember the poor in the world.


A terrific talk and well worth listening to.

Effie

#76 Irene

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:01 AM

The first interview is the interview with Fr. David Rucker of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center speaking about our Christian calling to remember the poor in the world.

A terrific talk and well worth listening to.

Effie


Thanks Effie, I'll try downloading it now. :) ....Irene

#77 Owen Jones

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:44 AM

The first step is to already give up everything in your mind that you have and that you cling to. If the thought of it makes you sad, you have a spiritual problem. I am saying this primarily to myself, btw. If the action makes you feel like you are a better person for it, this may also be a spiritual problem for you. Just the thought of having to give up things makes most of us very sad. Then nervous, then panicky. It's not about the money. It's about the delusion of control. We are not in control, and if we are really honest with ourselves we will recognize that and accept it. But we are not honest. We lie when we tell ourselves that by acquiring things like money, power and prestige, that means we are in control. It also gives us a false sense of redemption. That somehow our life is made meaningful and purposeful by being productive. Nothing wrong with this except when it crowds out the spiritual, which it typically does. In America there are many studies which show the income level people achieve before they become thoroughly secularized. Usually around six figures. They just stop going to Church, because they have found redemption. It's not just because they are decadent. Many people work very, very hard for their money, and do not live decadent lives, but the money means that they have redeemed themselves. So if you can redeem yourself, why do you need a Church, let alone God to help you? The Church does not moralize against making money. It suggests that true redemption is far more powerful than the powerful feeling that money brings. So we offer practices that make us less clingy, and allow us to explore at least the possibility that we are not the masters of our own destiny. And we are to fast until it becomes painful and we experience sorrow that we are giving up fine foods and calories and until we "work through" that sorrow we have discovered nothing. So there must be a pain of giving up something that we must go through before it is therapeutic in the spiritual sense. And for some, we must give up everything in order to learn anything or make any spiritual progress. The man who can make spiritual progress without experiencing disaster -- without having everything that he treasures ripped from him by force -- is truly blessed. If the Church is performing its mission, it guides people into a place where voluntary poverty and virginity and chastity are things we actually desire. But most of us are lucky to have just glimmers, or brief experiences of this reality because of our worldly responsibilities with families, etc. Which is why the Church must learn how to teach the desert in the backyard, the martyric virtues in the commonplace events of life.

#78 Nina

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:38 PM

One of the fathers who had gone to Constantinople to attend to some necessary business said to me: While I was sitting in the church, a man who was illustrious in the worldly sense but also a great lover of Christ came in; and when he saw me, he sat down. He then began asking about the salvation of the soul. I told him that the heavenly life is given to those who live life the earthly life in a seemly way.
"You have spoken well, father," he said. "Blessed is the man whose hope is in God and who presents himself as an offering to God. I am the son of a man who is very distinguished by the standards of the world. My father was very compassionate and distributed huge sums among the poor. One day he called me; showing me all his money, he said to me: `Son, which do you prefer; that I leave you my money, or that I give you Christ as your guardian?' Grasping the point he was making, I said I would rather have Christ; for everything that is here today shall be gone tomorrow. Christ remains forever. So from the moment he heard me say that, he gave without sparing, leaving very little for me when he died. So I was left a poor man and I lived simply, putting my hope in the God whom he bequeathed to me."
"There was another rich man, one of the leading citizens, who had a wife who loved Christ and feared God; and he had one daughter, his only child. The wife said to the husband: `We have only this one daughter, yet the Lord has endowed us with so many goods. What does she lack? If we seek to give her in marriage to somebody of our own rank whose way of life is not praiseworthy, it shall be a continual source of affliction to her. Let us rather look for a lowly man who fears God; one who will love her and cherish her according to God's holy law.' He said to her, `This is good advice. Go to church and pray fervently. Sit there, and whoever comes in first, he it is whom the Lord has sent.'"
"This she did. When she had prayed, she sat down and it was I who came in at that moment. She sent a servant to call me straightaway and she began asking me where I was from. I told her that I was from this city, the son of such-and-such a man. She said, `He who was so generous to the poor? And have you a wife?' I said I had not. I told her what my father had said to me and what I had said to him. She glorified the Lord and said, `Behold, the Good Guardian whom you chose has sent you a bride - and riches, so that you may enjoy both in the fear of God.' I pray that I might follow in my father's footsteps to the end of my days."


John Moschos, Leimonarion (The Spiritual Meadow) 201




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