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What if the beggar is going to get drunk or buy drugs with the money I am giving to him ?


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#1 hailton

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 01:23 PM

Am I sinning ?????????



#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 04:01 PM

Your blessing stems from your actions. The commandment is to give to the poor. What they do with it is their business and God's. Now if you tell them "go have a drink or a fix on me" that is something else entirely.

 

Some people do go to great lengths, to pay for a meal, or to give to specific charities and direct the person to that charity, to make sure the money is used "properly" but this is not always practical and goes beyond the Scriptural commandment which is simply to give



#3 Rdr Thomas

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 07:46 PM

The name escapes me, but tradition hands down the story of a bishop walking the streets of his city.  A man comes to him begging alms, and the bishop tells his cell attendant (or deacon, or priest, can't remember) to give the man money.  The cell attendant says (I'm paraphrasing) "But Your Grace, don't you know that man will just go out and buy drink with it?".  The bishop answers "What he does with the money is his sin.  For me to not give money to a person in need, that is MY sin."

 

Sorry for the haziness of my recollection here, but the point is obviously made with this little anecdote.  As Saint Paul says, we never know when we're entertaining angels unawares.



#4 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 08:14 PM

If you live in a developed country, you are already giving to the poor through taxes. I assume you are asking how much do you go above and beyond what you already contribute as mandatory?  After paying your taxes, giving 10% to the church, and caring for your family, do you actually have anything left over?

There is a lot more to give than just money. If you suspect that someone is playing you, then offer to take them out to eat and you will pay. If they refuse, then they probably were going to buy booze and aren't in need.  If you asked your kid or someone who was really in need, would they turn you down?  Not on your life.

There was one lady in my city that I saw.  I was taking home a meal of fish sandwiches for my family (7 people).  I did this because she was holding a sign that said "No job.  I have kids.  My husband just died.  Anything will help."  We live hand-to-mouth as it is and I felt that she must have it much worse than we. So when I stopped and handed her a huge bag of food.  As I looked down and she 5 bags of meals from various expensive fast-food, like KFC and Culvers, and they were all just getting cold.

 

Overlooking the situation, I handed her the phone number for the parish and said she could call the deacon, who managed charity and benevolence giving and assistance.  He could help her get food and employment.

I saw the exact same lady across town over 6 months later with the exact same message in another part of town.

What I have learned is that even if you give until it hurts, people will devour you, especially in developed countries where free money and food are there for the taking by anybody who will sell you and themselves (and their votes) for a pack of smokes or a 40. Especially if you have a family, your first responsibility is always to provide for them and the Church.

The people who are most needy in developed countries are the elderly/shut-ins and immigrants who can't even write in English to hold a sign, the ones who don't choose it as a lifestyle, but are sincerely hurting.  Anyone who tells you to give to beggars instead of your own children, unless they are your spiritual Father or a staretz with specific insight, is just usually just parroting liberal nonsense.


Edited by Seraphim of the Midwest, 18 February 2015 - 08:18 PM.


#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 08:45 PM

This can be a dilemma. When we are in Moscow (where there are a lot of really poor people), we see people asking for money. My wife seems to have an eye for those to whom we should give and those (involved in some sort of pretence or racket) to whom we should not give. Poverty is relative and where we live in England, there is some hardship to be sure but no real poverty. I have (Orthodox) friends who worked most of their working lives in the voluntary sector; they have said that what they see is not so much real poverty as an inability by the less well off properly to manage money and their lives in general. They worked in an outreach programme which worked with the poor to teach them how to manage their money better. St Theophan the Recluse says that rather than goggling at suffering humanity in general and discussing the issue at dinner tables, we should simply help those we encounter. In other words, God may place people before us whom we can help in some way and we should do so then.

 

PS This friend who worked in the voluntary sector went to London for a conference. He had bought a sandwich for his lunch. Seeing a young man down and out asking for money, my friend said he had no money but would gladly give him his sandwich. The 'beggar' looked at the sandwich and gave it back to my friend saying, 'I don't like cheese and onion'.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 18 February 2015 - 08:51 PM.


#6 David Robles

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 10:49 PM

Seraphim wrote, "Anyone who tells you to give to beggars instead of your own children, unless they are your spiritual Father or a staretz with specific insight, is just usually just parroting liberal nonsense." If giving to beggars is being liberal or conservative I do not care because it is the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles and Church Fathers who command us to give to the poor, even that beggar whom we are prone to judge. (See below)

I'll tell you a story. I drove by a beggar once and gave him some money, as I drove off I saw that he was smoking. I regretted giving to him because I didn't want to feed a vice, right? Well, on my way back home, I didn't see the beggar on the corner and I look around for him. I finally saw him sitting at a restaurant having a meal! You see, even smokers, alcoholics and drug addicts need to eat. It is not our business to punish people for their sins. It is not our business to judge them and to require of them a set of preconditions for us to show them mercy. As Andreas said, the beggar is responsible to God for the way he uses the money. We are commanded to give. It is a very important  part of our therapy for the healing of our souls. It is unconditional love, like God's, who shines his sun over both the just and the unjust.

 

Poverty is not a crime. Beggars are human beings and many are in that condition through no fault of their own. So you found some that are less than ethical? God loves them anyway and he placed you in their way for your salvation and for you to show mercy. And the same it is for all of us.

There is an overwhelming Patristic witness supporting my position. Please read below.

 

I for one, fail to apprehend the distinction between secular and 'religious' implied here. The Church Fathers clearly do not make that distinction. Our use of the material things in our lives, as well as our attitude towards money, success and stewardship have everything to do with our spiritual health. Here is a post I wrote concerning money in which I gather Patristic quotes from different sources;



Gold+and+treasure.jpg


"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon."Luke 16:13


“Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. Psalm
39:6 NASB

 

It is commonly believed that being successful means having acquired wealth. Even the dictionary defines the adjective as such. Social standing is directly proportional to one's wealth. The poor, of course, rank very low in this system of values. Their poverty is considered the result of incompetence or character flaws. 


Contempt for the poor is worn as a batch of honor, their poverty a highly contagious disease.  The individual is at the very center of all things. The common good and the well-being of the community is taken into consideration if, and only if, it does not interfere with the individual's self-centered pursuit of wealth. 


So, I wonder, is Orthodox Christianity in agreement with this state of affairs? What do the Church Fathers have to say about this? We must follow in the steps of the saints and the Fathers, the well trodden path of those who shed their blood for the Faith once delivered to the saints.


When I read the selections posted below for the first time, I was stunned! I was surprised that the Church Fathers have spoken with such clarity and with such detail even on the subjects of wealth and the common good. 


Most of the quotes here are taken from the work of a great Patristic scholar, Dr Jean Claude Larchet, who in chapter 5 of Vol. 2 of Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses, provides a comprehensive look at the way of life and belief of the Fathers and saints, and shows how far, has modern man gone astray from the path that
leads to true spiritual and material riches, health, and success.


Love of Money and Greed are Preeminently Sinful Dispositions of The Soul Towards God and Others


"Generally speaking, love of money (φιλαργυρία) means an attachment to money and the diverse forms of material wealth. This attachment is manifested in the delight experienced in its possession, the care in keeping it, the difficulty experienced in separating oneself from it,and the pain felt when one makes a gift of it."(1) See Notes below


Greed (πλεονεξία) is the will to acquire new goods, the desire to possess more.  Greed and love of money are two different passions but both proceed from the same attachment to material goods. and often in reality go hand in hand...

 


"The cause of these passions is neither money nor material goods themselves but rather man's perverse attitude towards them. The end goal of money and material goods is to be used by man so as to satisfy his needs relative to his subsistence. The greedy and avaricious confer upon (material goods) 'an intrinsic rather than utilitarian value and delight not in their use but in their possession'(2)

 

The pathological character of greed and the love of money is constituted by the misuse of the desiderative faculty (of the soul), as well as all the other faculties implicated by these passions. But this misuse is not only defined in relation to material goods; more fundamentally, it is defined in relation to God, implicating in addition the relationships of man to himself and to his neighbor.


Although man in his original state placed all his desire for God and endeavored to conserve the spiritual riches received from Him..., in the case of these passions (love of money and greed), he turns his desire away from this normal end goal in order to turn it towards material goods alone."


Dr Larchet goes on to explain that  since love of God, and love of money have their seat in the soul in the same desiderative power of the soul, they are incompatible with each other and mutually exclusive, "As Christ Himself teaches, 'No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon", Luke 16:13 Man distances himself all the more from God because he becomes attached to money...
 

St Nicetas Stethatos writes, 'greed impels men to love money more than they love Christ, to esteem what is material more highly than God,
to worship creation rather than the Creator'. If you aspire to friendship with Christ, you will hate money and the gluttonous love of money, for money lures towards itself the mind of whoever loves it, and diverts it from love for Jesus' 
(3).

 

Thus money and the diverse forms of wealth occupy the place due to God in the life of the greedy and avaricious man, becoming idols for
him. St Paul affirms that covetousness is idolatry and one who is covetous is an idolater.
Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5.
 

Even if love of money and greed are not sufficiently developed so as to exclude God totally, they reveal a lack of faith and hope in Him...'he puts his trust in money more than in God' (4). He has an illusory impression of independence and of absolute mastery over his existence. Thus he cuts himself off from God.


Subject to these two passions, he lacks the most basic love with regards to himself; he prefers money and material riches to his own soul...Man cannot develop his spiritual potentialities and effect the blossoming of his nature, and thus he keeps himself enclosed within the limits of the fallen world...


Although he thinks to find happiness in the pleasure he experiences in acquiring and possessing, he condemns himself to dissatisfaction and finally to misfortune, since this pleasure is unstable, imperfect,transitory, and ends sooner or later. Above all, it takes the place of spiritual delights which are incomparably superior and alone capable of fully satisfying man... man in many ways becomes 'his own enemy' as St John Chrysostom says (5).


Man's relationship with his neighbor is also seriously disturbed by the passions of greed and love of money.

According to the Church Fathers, the acquisition of riches is always to the detriment of others (6) St John Chrysostom proclaims that 'the rich and the greedy are thieves of a certain kind (7).


All men are indeed equal; they all have the same nature, they are all made in the image of God, and they are all saved by Christ. Without any exception, God has given the goods of this world as an endowment to all men, that they might delight in them in equal fashion(8).


The fact that some acquire and possess more than others contradicts the equality willed by God in the distribution of goods, and institutes an abnormal and non-natural state. Such a state did not exist in the beginning (9);  it has appeared as a consequence of the ancestral sin and has been maintained and developed due to the passions, in particular those of love of money and greed.


In truth, things belong to all as regards their use and delight, but they 'belong to no one as regards property' (10). One must use wealth as a steward, not as a sensualist, writes St Basil (11).


The Fathers emphasize that wealth is meant to be shared and divided up equitably (12). For this reason the Fathers never cease to invite the rich to share their wealth (13). The greedy and miserly show contempt for this end goal - the one by seeking and accumulating goods with only his own personal pleasure in mind, the other by egoistically holding on to his money. Both of these 'exceed the limit of what is lawful (14), in doing so for they think more of themselves than of their neighbor and contradict the basic precept of charity: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'.' Mark 12:30-31


The greedy and the miserly, always aiming at an egoistic pleasure, no longer look toward their neighbor; they cease to regard him as an equal and brother. They reject him who shares their nature, notes St Ambrose (15). They exclude and deprive their neighbor of the dignity conferred upon him by God, refusing to rank him among their companions, as St John Chrysostom observes (16). 


Love of money and greed give birth to an aversion of other men (17), and even make the one they possess pitiless and cruel (18).

These passions constantly provoke arguments and disputes (19). St John Climacus writes in the Ladder,  step 17.14, that love of money produces hatred, thefts, envy, separations, storms, remembrance of wrongs, hard-hardheartedness, and murders. This passion is even the 'source of wars', writes St Basil.


Love of money and greed constitute a true illness of the soul. It is practically incurable if one allows it to develop and take root within oneself. St John Chrysostom warns, 'If we do not stop this passion from the beginning, once it has entered it strikes us with an illness that can no longer be healed (20). In similar manner, the
Fathers do not hesitate to see in these two passions forms of madness(21).


Love of money and greed are the bulimia of the soul, 'The bulimia of the soul is avarice; the more it gorges in food, the more it desires. It always stretches out beyond what it possesses' (22).


This insatiability reveals the tyrannical character of  love of money and greed, which turn man into a 'slave of the things he has', writes St John Chrysostom. They enslave him to the devil more than all other passions (23). St John Chrysostom in his Commentary on the Psalms writes that for those affected by love of money and greed, 'there is never tranquility, never security for the soul,,,neither day nor night brings them any appeasement...Rather they are tormented everywhere'.


Added to this anxiety is another basic pathological effect: sadness, the depressive state of the soul. This state most often results from the thwarting of the desire to possess more...St John Chrysostom writes, 'Where is the pleasure and rest of the spirit that one finds in wealth? I avow that I see there nothing but subjects of affliction and misery...and a sorrow which gives no respite whatsoever...The attachment that lovers of money have to their riches is not proof of the satisfaction they find in them, but rather of the sickness and disorder of their mind (24). These can be translated into somatic and mental illness! (See the episode recounted by Leontius of Neapolis, The Life of St John of Cyprus XXVII.


Love of money and greed engender other disorders which affect man's vision of reality and his relationship to it. They darken the nous (25) as St Hesychius the priest explains in 'Watchfulness and Holiness 57. Avarice is a terrible scourge; it closes the eyes, and shuts the ears of him who is possessed by it.  The avaricious regard others as objects. They do not give attention or consideration to anyone at all. 


The incoherent character of the avaricious man's perceptions of reality is revealed in how he regards the objects of wealth themselves...paying more attention to them than they really deserve. The Fathers often recall that gold or precious stones, for example, are in fact nothing but simple stones, earth (26). The avaricious man accords them an absolute value, considering them long-lasting, even eternal, although they are all perishable and destructible.


The avaricious man thus appears as swapping the present for eternity, the perishable for the immortal, the visible for the invisible, the true goods of the kingdom - the heavenly treasure - for illusory goods, the false riches of this world, writes St John Chrysostom.


Following St Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10, the Fathers affirm that love of money is the root and mother of all evils.


The therapy of love of money and greed is non-possessiveness and alms-giving.


First, St John Cassian writes in his Institutes that, we must know the illnesses of greed and love of money, their manifestation in the soul and in our behavior, and their consequences, as described in depth by the preceding paragraphs.  


Second,  we must be aware of the vanity of the objects these passions pursue. As St Symeon the New Theologian states, "that all is a shadow and everything is passing". in Catecheses 19.130-143.


Third, we must be "content with what we have"  Hebrews 13:5


Fourth, we must acquire a firm Faith in God. St John Climacus writes that "Unwavering faith cuts off cares" in The Ladder, step 17.12


Fifth, man must put all his hope and trust in God who is the Provider of what we need for our subsistence, and also the source of spiritual riches.


Sixth, man can observe that the more he attaches himself to spiritual goods, the more he acquires, with regards to sensual goods, one of the opposing virtues to love of money and greed: detachment. St John Climacus writes, 'He who has tasted the things on high easily despises what is below'. Ladder, step 17.6.


Man can attain to this experience only when he stops living an utterly carnal life and unites himself to God through love and the practice of the commandments. Let us remember that the aim of healing love of money and greed is to permit man to unite himself to God, and to love Him with all mind, all his soul, and all his might. 


...Man's entire spiritual condition and destiny depend on the type of riches he desires to acquire and to which he is attached...'for where your treasure is', says Christ, 'there will your heart be also' Matthew 6:21


How is one healed of love of money and greed? St John Chrysostom says, "You will accomplish this if you substitute for this love[of money] the desire for the things of heaven" (27).


Non possessiveness and non-acquisitiveness are the virtues opposing love of money and greed.

These signify the voluntary refusal to possess or acquire anything, save what it is strictly necessary for existence (28).  It is utterly essential that such non-possessiveness be an internal disposition and spiritual attitude regarding material goods. This virtue does not consist merely on not having things. One may have things without being attached to them. The perfection of this virtue is described by Christ when He said, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor. Gospel of Matthew 19:21

Non-possessiveness is manifested interiorly by the absence of  preoccupation with material goods.

It would be useless to be without money if we retained the intention of possessing it; for it is possible for someone who owns no money to be still in no way free from avarice, and for poverty to be of no use to him at all, if he has been unable to eliminate the vice of desire (29).


The Therapy of Almsgiving

Abbah Isaiah counsels: "Let us exercise our love in charity towards the poor, that it might save us from love of money" (30)


The virtue of almsgiving (ελεημοσύνη) - recommended several times by Christ (31),  and evoked many times in St Paul's Epistles (32),  and in the Acts of the Apostles (33) - consists in sharing one's goods (34), giving one's superfluity to those in need (35) and even what is necessary for oneself to those who lack (36).

St John Chrysostom in his Commentary to the Gospel of John states that, Whoever gives of what he needs is naturally closer to the perfection of this virtue than someone who gives from his abundance, and all the more so than someone who only gives a portion of this overabundance. Whoever gives from what he needs exercises great mercy'.

[St Gregory Palamas in Homily 4 calls us to repentance saying, "But let us change direction, repent and agree together to supply the needs of the poor brethren among us by whatever means we have. If we prefer not to empty out all we possess for the love of God, let us at least not hold on
callously to everything for ourselves. Let us do something, then humble ourselves before God and obtain forgiveness from Him for what we have
failed to do."]


The Greek word ελεημοσύνη does not only mean almsgiving, but also mercy and compassion, again emphasizing one's inner disposition, an act of
love.

St John Chrysostom says, "It is much less for the assuagement of indigence that God has ordained almsgiving than for the advantage to those who give alms (37).

It is not the material size of the alms that determines their value, it is only necessary that they be proportionate to the means of the giver (38).
St John Chrysostom never ceases to reassure those of meager means by underlining that God has in view first of all the goodwill they manifest and the purity of their intention. (Homilies to the Hebrews 1.4)

In order to have spiritual value, almsgiving must be done in a disinterested manner, i.e., the donor must not expect any profit of any kind, especially that which derives from self satisfaction, as the Lord said, "Freely you received, freely give" Matthew 10:8

As St Nikolai Velimirovich writes, "One should not give alms with pride but rather with humility, considering the one to whom the alms are given to be better than oneself. Did not the Lord Himself say: Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me? (Matthew 25:40) 


Theophanes the Confessor possessed a mind illumined by the light of Christ, even as a child. Once, while walking along the street, he saw a naked child freezing. He quickly removed his clothes, clothed the child and thus warmed him and brought him back to life. He then returned home naked.

His startled parents asked him: ``Where are your clothes?'' To this Theophanes replied: ``I clothed Christ.'' This is why he was given the grace of Christ, and was later a great ascetic, a sufferer for the Christian Faith and a miracle-worker.

Often, when we give alms, either in someone else's name or in our own name, we cannot avoid pride which, as soon as it appears in the heart, destroys all the good deeds performed. When we give to the beggar as to a beggar and not as to Christ, we cannot avoid pride or disdain. What value is there in performing an act of mercy, while taking pride in ourselves and disdaining the man? Virtue is not a virtue when it is mixed with sin,
just as milk is not milk when it is mixed with gasoline or vinegar."  St Nikolai Velimirovich in The Prologue from Ochrid. Reading for September 9th.


We must also keep in mind Christ warning when He said. "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:2-4


For much more on this subject of love of money, and its cure, non-possessiveness and almsgiving please read,
 

larchet-box-8merge2.gif

Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses by Dr. Jean-Claude Larchetis available from St Tikhon's Monastery Press and Bookstore




Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses by Dr Jean Claude-Larchet,Translated by Fr Kilian Sprecher, 3 volume boxed set

Copyright @2012 Alexander Press, Montreal, Quebec,Canada

ISBN - 1-896800-39-4




____________________





 


Notes


1. Cf. Maximos the Confessor, Four Centuries


On Charity III.17-18


 


2. St John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew 83a, and St Basil the Great, Against the Rich 7.2 


 


3. St Nicetas Stethatos, Centuries II.55


 


4. St Maximos the Confessor, Four Centuries on Charity III.18


 


5. St John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Gospel  of St Matthew 70.4


 


6. St Ambrose of Milan, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Basil the Great, St
Gregory the Great, St John Chrysostome and St Symeon the New Theologian,
etc.


 


7. St John Chrysostom, On Lazarus 1. Cf. Homilies on 1 Corinthians 29.8


 


8. St John Chrysostom, Commentary on Psalm 42. St Ambrose of Milan,
Naboth the Poor 2.St Gregory Nazianzen, Orations 14. St Symeon the New
Theologian, Catecheses 9.93.


 


9. St Gregory Nazianzen, Orations 14.


 


10. St Symeon the New Theologian, Catecheses 9.95-97


 


11. St Basil, Against the Rich 7.3 Cf. St Gregory Nazianzen, Orations 26.11


 


12. St John Chrysostome, Homilies on Genesis 35.5.  


 


13. See for example, St Gregory Nazianzen, Orations 14.26. St Gregory
of Nyssa, On Love of the Poor 1.7. St Basil the Great, Against the Rich
7.3. St

Mark the Ascetic, On Repentance 5.


 


14. St Basil the Great, Short Riules 48.


 


15. St Ambrose, Naboth the Poor 2


 


16. St John Chrysostom, Commentary on Psalm 42.


 


17. St John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 83.2


 


18. St Nicetas Stethatos, Letters 4.6


 


19. St John Climacus, Ladder 17.11


 


20. St John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Corinthians 9.4


 


21. St John Chrysostom, St Symeon the New Theologian, St Theodoret of Cyrus, St Andrew of Crete, St Basil the Great.


 


22. St John Chrysostom, Homilies on 2 Timothy 7.2


 


23. St John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew 13.4


 


24. St John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew 38.3


 


25. The word 'intellect' (nous) as used by St Hesychius the Priest in
 this text, does not refer to reason, discursive thinking or logical
thinking, but to the organ of the soul by which the soul can 'know',
that is directly apprehend, spiritual realities; not by drawing
conclusions, but directly under the inspiration of divine Grace. The
Greek language makes a distinction between nous (translated as
'intellect' here) which is the spiritual organ of knowledge of the soul;
and diania or 'reason'

the organ of knowledge of the brain through the senses and discourse.
Orthodox Christian anthropology affirms that man has both organs of
knowledge. Thoughts, reason and the senses can interact with the nous,
both in a positive and in a negative manner, and in that way affect the

heart, the spiritual center of man.


 


26. St Ambrose of Milan, Naboth the Poor 26.


 


27. Commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew 9.6


 


28. St John Cassian in Institutes VII.21,29 and St Isaac the Syrian in the Ascetical Homilies 33.


 


29. St John Cassian, Institutes VII.21


 


30. Asketikon 16.


 


31. Mt 5:42, 6:2, 10:18, 19:21; Luke 3:11, 6:30,38, 12:33; Mk 10:21


 


32. Rom 12:8, 1 Cor 16:1-3; 2 Cor 8:3-15, 9:8; Gal 2:10


 


33. Acts 3:26, 4:35, 10:2-4, 20:35


 


34. St John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew 45.2, 53.2


 


35. Luke 3.11; 2 Cor 8:13-15; St Isaac the Syrian , Ascetical
Homilies 33, St John Chrysostom, Homilies on this text, 'There Must be
Divisions' 9; Homilies on the Epistle to the Hebrews 1.4, 53.2


 


36. Mk 12:43-44.


 


37. St John Chrysostom, Homilies on Almsgiving 4





38. 2 Cor 8:3-11; Mk 12:43-44; and St John Chrysostom in several of his
homilies, on Acts21.5; on Romans 19.7; on Colossians1.6; on Hebrews 1.4


 



#7 Iustin C.

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 04:33 AM

You might find this helpful. 

 

http://www.ancientfa...rs_and_saints_1

 

http://www.ancientfa...rs_and_saints_2



#8 Lakis Papas

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 05:04 PM

When you make a charity do you support the person or his/her actions? Do you help the person or the lifestyle of the person.



#9 John S.

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 05:11 PM

Psalm 103 (104): The Lord "causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and green herb for the service of men, To bring forth bread out of the earth; and wine maketh glad the heart of man."

 

If that's all he has to make his heart glad at the moment, so be it. That's why God gave us wine in the first place after all.

 

I think the answer is to tend your own garden. Jesus didn't say "if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also, but only if you think he'll use it appropriately." or "give to him that asketh thee as long as he will use what he gets from you responsibly and make a good investment for his future."

 

That said, yeah, if he straight out tells you that he's going to go buy meth with it, then you probably shouldn't give it to him as it will only cause him harm and then you would not be acting in love. But the mere suspicion that he will use it to buy a bottle of cheap alcohol I do not think is relevant... and certainly doesn't impute sin to you! Just my thought.


Edited by John S., 19 February 2015 - 05:12 PM.


#10 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 05:57 PM

I don't think it is charitable to help someone aid their own self harm and self destruction.



#11 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 06:14 PM

My question is this: which of you posting here actually sacrifices the tenth of your income to the Church, to support those who they themselves and their families suffer for the Gospel (by going without in order to live in obedience)?

 

It is a sin to not obey the Lord in giving a tenth, especially of the firstfruits of your labor, and then act like you are giving charity by handing out your pocket change.  Especially if you make a show of it.

 

Are we not supposed to remove the log from our eye before helping our brother to get the splinter from his own?

 

In the meanwhile, the Apostles taught that everyone should work for their own bread. "if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either." (II Thes 3:10)



#12 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 06:35 PM

Does every church distribute its funds to the poor?



#13 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 08:01 PM

Does every church distribute its funds to the poor?

The question is ambiguous. Please define these terms: church, funds, poor.

As you stated earlier, "poor" is a relative term.

"Church" in the Orthodox context can mean a local Orthodox parish, a diocese, or a jurisdiction. It can also mean other faiths, in the sense of "Roman Catholic Church" or "First Baptist Church" and therein lies the ambiguity.

"Funds" generally means money. However, people donate a lot more than just money to a parish, diocese, and/or monastery. The scriptures state to give of the fruits of your labor, which is not primarily money. I have been in parishes where people donate a portion of their harvest, significant amounts of time and talents (e.g., repair work, maintaining information systems, groundskeeping).



#14 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 11:39 PM

Many churches, ie parishes, in western countries have barely enough money to function and cannot help the poor. In a country such as England, there are both state and private agencies which seek to help the poor. Probably the best an Orthodox Christian can do is help those whom God places in his way.



#15 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 12:10 AM

Many churches, ie parishes, in western countries have barely enough money to function and cannot help the poor. In a country such as England, there are both state and private agencies which seek to help the poor. Probably the best an Orthodox Christian can do is help those whom God places in his way.

 

 

I was serving on a parish council and we did quarterly giving.  I sat there and listened to the options and it was decided that car seats would be given to needy mothers.  The "do gooder" decided to buy brand new car seats from a local big box store, so our parish was going to donate one or two (I can't remember now).

 

I had 4 kids at the time and had an additional 2 car seats that I had gotten donated to me, so I had four to spare.  They were used, but three in good shape.  One was a very useful basinet with a great base that made it easy to carry an infant and was safer than most other models on the market.  I suggested that I would provide 3 car seats and we could use the money to get other things to donate.  It would be an efficient use of resources.

 

The "do gooder" looked at me in disgust, her response was effectively no, our parish would not stoop so low.  She would not stand for it.  It was irrelevant that the car seats were good enough for my family.  My family was strapped for cash and under an extreme amount of stress.  Nobody in that parish ever stepped in to do so much as lend a hand.  Not once.  That is status quo for the Orthodox I have encountered.  They will usually go out of their way to help a single mother (who already receives welfare btw).  They don't help anybody else except themselves.  The worst are the "pro-life" crowd, who make a big show about fighting abortion, but once you giver birth and become a parent, they are nowhere to be found.

 

I have watched old people be ignored, even priests widows; lawyers who pride themselves on being righteous (a complete contradiction in terms), then profit off of legal services in divorce proceedings of an orthodox wife against her orthodox husband; adultery; gossip, lying and blatant hypocrisy; and complete disregard for seekers who are struggling to enter the faith.  In all these cases, people's lives were severely impacted for the worse, and in many cases, people have left the faith over the issues.  

 

However, by far more common is the blatant disregard that Orthodox Christians have for the other faithful when they are strapped and hurting.  This includes treating good priests like crap.  Not tending to their needs, nor supporting their families.  Many priests I have had worked second jobs to care for their families and/or they flirt with burnout constantly.  They also have legal liability due to the litigious nature of the society here in the US, and can be embroiled in legal suits that they have nothing to do with.



#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 08:42 AM

The Holy Fathers say that love of our enemies is the authentic criterion of being a Christian, and it does seem that the Orthodox Church affords ample opportunities for putting this injunction into practice.



#17 Anton S.

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 12:47 PM

Perhaps, I am too materialistic, but I do believe in giving money to the 'deserving' poor. I simply cannot force myself to think that giving money to drunkards, drug additcs, compulsive gamblers and the like is an act of mercy. By doing so, we simply encourage them in their vices. Of course, one can argue that if a drug addict does not get money for a dose, he (or she) will go and rob or even kill somebody. This argument is valid, but even it will not convince me to become a sponsor of the drug industry.

 

Therefore, I usually carefully choose whom I should give the little money I can spare, often consulting with a priest.

 

Another thing, I find it better to give a person a chance to earn the money rather than just get it. For example, in our parish there is a nice woman who raises five children alone. At first, I just gave her a little money, but later I arranged with her that I bring my daughter from time to time to stay with her for a couple of hours and pay for this. I think it is better for her to feel that she honestly earned her money and not just got it for nothing. At least, she does seem embarrassed when I give her money as a present.

 

Of course, there are people who do need money but cannot earn (enough of) it - severely disabled persons, people who need medical treatment too expensive for them, refugees, victims of various disasters, etc. Of course, giving money to them is godly and necessary.

 

But encouraging idleness and social parasitism does not look to me virtuous.

 

Of course, the point of almsgiving is not just to help people in this earthly life but to combat your own passion of cupidity. But is it necessary to encourage other people's passions to cure your own? In order to curb your cupidity and to prevent yourself from going too rich and hedonistic you can donate any amount of money to churches, monasteries, Orthodox newspapers, magazines, missions... Or to people who genuinely are in desperate need. In Russia, there is an excellent Church web site called www.miloserdie.ru in which cases of suffering people who need immediate material support are given, complete with a story on them and bank details. I am confident that there are no hoaxes there. There is so much genuine need in this world that we all can donate everything that we have and it still will not be fully quenched.



#18 Moses Anthony

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 03:36 AM

As a Protestant, l -along with several others- would travel the streets of a city, talking to people wherever we found them, about Jesus. One man asking for money was bought a meal, and a bus ticket.  Still on the streets after dropping him off, we passed by a Methodist church which had a sign that read: "A Little With The Lord Is A Lot" All of us burst into laughter! 

Yes we are commanded to give "...as it has been given unto you..." , however there is another imperative we labor under. In the Gospels Jesus tells us, "...I am the Vine, you are the branches, abide in me that you may bear fruit, and so glorify your Father in heaven...", and "...let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven...." And finally to the servant, "...you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on My arrival I would have received My money back with interest...." The imperative is this: We are to be good stewards of the gifts and grace of God!  Remember in The Shama as recorded in Mark's Gospel, we're commanded to love with all "...your heart...soul...MIND...and strength.  If redemption has touched every fibre of my being, then surely it transforms my intellect/mind also in co-operating with God's grace, otherwise for what reason do we have a brain.



#19 Rick H.

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 10:38 PM

As a Protestant, l -along with several others- would travel the streets of a city, talking to people wherever we found them, about Jesus. One man asking for money was bought a meal, and a bus ticket.  Still on the streets after dropping him off, we passed by a Methodist church which had a sign that read: "A Little With The Lord Is A Lot" All of us burst into laughter! 

Yes we are commanded to give "...as it has been given unto you..." , however there is another imperative we labor under. In the Gospels Jesus tells us, "...I am the Vine, you are the branches, abide in me that you may bear fruit, and so glorify your Father in heaven...", and "...let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven...." And finally to the servant, "...you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on My arrival I would have received My money back with interest...." The imperative is this: We are to be good stewards of the gifts and grace of God!  Remember in The Shama as recorded in Mark's Gospel, we're commanded to love with all "...your heart...soul...MIND...and strength.  If redemption has touched every fibre of my being, then surely it transforms my intellect/mind also in co-operating with God's grace, otherwise for what reason do we have a brain.

 

Moses, is this a quote from someone else or did you write this and you are a Protestant now?



#20 Olga

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 11:08 PM

The opening sentence is in the past tense.






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