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ADMONISHING THOSE WHO GIVE AWAY FROM WHAT IS THEIR OWN AND THOSE WHO SEIZE WHAT BELONGS TO OTHERS 

Those who give freely of their possessions should be warned not to be conceited and rate themselves above others. Remember that you are merely appointed by God to be the dispenser of His temporal means; so remain humble for you are a mere dispenser and not the owner.

Because these things are not yours, take care not to distribute them unworthily; not to give to those who ought not to be given or fail to give  to those who should receive. Do not give much to whom little must be given or give little to whom much is due. Do not be dilatory to those who must receive immediately or give in haste to those who should wait. 

When giving, remove expectations of receiving thanks or being praised or credit oneself, for these will remove the glow from your almsgiving.

Avoid moroseness when giving: "For God loveth a cheerful giver." Do not attribute to yourself the virtue of liberality; do not rejoice immoderately over your almsgiving. Hope not for any transitory praise and do not allow the glory of this present life infiltrate into your pious giving. Expect no recompense. Neither give too soon nor too late, neither too little nor too much.

"Give only to the good, not to sinners. Do good to the humble and give not to the ungodly." To feed theatre performers while the poor of Christ go hungry is a crime. Of course, we may share with the sinful beggar, not because he is sinful but, because he is a beggar.

Do not make up for your past sins with almsgiving while committing new sins. To do so is to give your possessions to God while giving yourself to the devil.

To those who seize what belongs to others, listen to what the Lord says, "I was hungry and you gave me to eat. . .depart from Me..." If he who does not give is condemned, how much more the show of violence in an act of injustice.

Woe to you who gathers what is not your own." "A covetous man shall not be satisfied with money; and he that loveth riches shall reap no fruit from them," unless, of course, you do not love these riches and use them for doing good. 

"He who makes haste to be rich shall not be innocent. For he will not be interested in avoiding sin." "An inheritance gotten easily in the beginning, in the end shall be without blessing."

Many who have worked to be rich have ended up unable to remain rich or despoiled of their riches by death, that is, even before they enjoy their riches. Aren't they funny; yet we are doing the same. 

St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral Care,  Part III, 20

 

 


 

(05-19-03)

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