Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Poverty and Wealth

The Christian Response to Poverty

Americans are witnessing the widest gap between the highest and lowest income families since officials began tracking the data a decade ago. As many conservative members of Congress continue to press for cutbacks in programs, such as food stamps, medical coverage, and housings subsidies, all of which have been a lifeline for countless poor families, it would be prudent for us to examine the words of some of the greatest Early Church Fathers, spoken with the Mind of the Church, regarding the poor among us, and our responsibility to them as Christians.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Teachings of the Early Church Fathers 
on Poverty and Wealth

You are not making a gift of your possession to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. Saint Ambrose of Milan, 340-397.

The property of the wealthy holds them in chains . . . which shackle their courage and choke their faith and hamper their judgment and throttle their souls. They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves. Saint Cyprian, 300 A.D.

The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging in your closet belongs to the man who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the man who has no shoes; the money which you put into the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help but fail to help. Saint Basil of Caesarea, 330-370 A.D.

Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours but theirs. Saint John Chrysostom, 347-407 AD

Instead of the tithes which the law commanded, the Lord said to divide everything we have with the poor. And he said to love not only our neighbors but also our enemies, and to be givers and sharers not only with the good but also to be liberal givers toward those who take away our possessions. Saint Irenaeus, 130-200 AD

The rich are in possession of the goods of the poor, even if they have acquired them honestly or inherited them legally. Saint John Chrysostom, 347-407

Share everything with your brother. Do not say, "It is private property." If you share what is everlasting, you should be that much more willing to share things which do not last. The Didache

Let the strong take care of the weak; let the weak respect the strong. Let the rich man minister to the poor man; let the poor man give thanks to God that he gave him one through whom his need might be satisfied. Saint Clement of Rome, 1st Century

Christians love one another. They do not overlook the widow, and they save the orphan. The one who has ministers ungrudgingly to the one who does not have. When they see a stranger, they take him under their own roof and rejoice over him as a true brother, for they do not call themselves brothers according to the flesh but according to the soul. Aristides, early 2nd century

How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping? Saint Basil of Caesarea, 330-370 A.D.

When you are weary of praying and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling, and have not listened to him. Saint John Chrysostom, 347-407

Tuesday November 5, 2013 / October 23, 2013
20th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Holy Apostle James the Brother of the Lord (63).
Translation of the relics of Blessed James of Borovichi, wonderworker of Novgorod (1540).
New Hieromartyrs Nicholas, Vladimir, Alexander, Nicholas, Emilian and Sozont priests (1937).
New Hieromartyr Archpriest Vladimir Ambartsumov of Moscow (1937).
Venerable Euphrosyne (1942).
St. Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople (877).
Venerable Elisha of Lavrishevo, Belo-Russia (1250).
Venerable Nicephorus of Charsianos, Constantinople.
Venerable Petronius, disciple of St. Pachomius the Great (346).
Venerable Oda of Amay, foundress of churches (723) (Neth.).
St. Macarius the Roman of Mesopotamia.
St. Ethelfleda, abbes of Romsey.
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,  
Abbot Tryphon

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Philippians 2:17-23

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy Commended

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.

Luke 11:1-10

The Model Prayer

11 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
So He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”

A Friend Comes at Midnight

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.


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  1. Abbott Tryphon,

    May God bless you and your beautiful monastery!!!

    I think there is a danger in believing that our Christian responsibility to care for the poor can be assumed by the state....Your very words from a recent post highlight the confusion which exists when our humanism (which is certainly expressed in the godless soul of our national tax and economic policy) are confused with the Life in Christ which expresses this as we have eyes to see that all we encounter are truly are neighbors....

    "Pure theology does not come out of a humanistic, philosophical search for the things of God, but rather, from an encounter with the Living God"

    Although I love what you are doing in your blog and your podcasts, I believe you are missing a critical point of what is true Christian charity when our humanism attempts to legislate compassion without Christ...isn't the irony of what you express in this particular post how similar it is how the Bolsheviks justified their revolution and their subsequent attempt to raise themselves above God...why do we need God if we can have charity without Him?

  2. So Bruce, should abortion be illegal? How about murder? Or is it only helping the less fortunate that you don't want to see legislated? Should we embrace the painful beauty of finding our own way to ALL moral acts free from legal constraint, or only when it comes to putting your hand in your pocket that it bothers you?