July 29, 2010

How the Rich and the Poor Help Each Other

by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

If you give alms to the poor, know that as much as you do good works for your fellow man so much you do for yourself, and even more for yourself. St. Anthony says: "Both life and death comes to us from our fellow man."

St. Peter of Damascus writes: "As the poor should give thanks to God and love the rich who do them good, so even more should the rich give thanks to God and to love the poor because they are saved by the Providence of God both now and in the future ages [life to come] because of their alms. For without the poor, they not only cannot gain salvation of their souls but they cannot avoid the temptations of wealth."

Alms which are given out of vanity or with disdain do not benefit anything. In earlier times, the wealthy ones brought gold to the hermits and begged them to accept it. It is a rare occurrence that the hermits gladly accepted alms and, when they did accept it, they accepted it out of compassion toward the wealthy ones giving it. The most destitute of men received alms out of compassion!