September 2016 English Newsletter Posted October 5, 2016 by admin


September, 2016

My Beloved the benevolent

Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing

While we celebrate the Feast of Nayrouz this month, we also remember our Fathers the martyrs and remember their love for God and the offering of their lives as an accepted sacrifice before Him. We would like to benefit from the biography of the martyrs in their merciful and giving work for the needy.

Giving in Christianity depends on one’s spiritual life, not one’s financial wealth. Christ gave us a new definition of giving through the poor woman who gave the two mites. The Holy Bible says, “Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. The one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” Mk. 12:41-44 Christ our Lord considered the two mites of the widow far greater than the money given by the rich because she gave out of poverty, she gave all her livelihood. There could be many reasons why the rich give money, but what entices the poor to give out of poverty is the love of God. No one would be proud to give two mites, but rather they might be timid in giving this offering, being afraid of people’s judgment in comparing it to the generous offerings and thereby measuring the generosity of the giver by the amount he gives. But Christ Our Lord set a different standard to measure generosity which is: how one gives, not what one gives.

St. Paul the apostle gave the Corinthians an example for giving despite the poverty level of the giver. He wrote to the Corinthians about the generosity of the Macedonians despite their impoverished state, “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.  For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” 2Cor.8:1-5 St. Paul the apostle speaks about the church of Macedonia, that despite suffering from impoverishment, they rushed to minister to the saints (meaning the needy). They gave their offering generously with joy, willingly with insistence that their offering be accepted. This beautiful example of giving makes us ask, what is the secret behind their generosity, giving with joy and insistence despite their financial hardship? St. Paul unveils for us this secret, the reason they gave beyond their ability is that “they gave themselves first to the Lord.” The soul that touches God’s love opens up to loving others and this transcends above financial matters, therefore making it easier for one to give, even out of poverty.

True giving does not depend on advertising and focusing on the suffering of the poor so the rich can have compassion on them, this is the way of the world to collect donations. The same is true for getting the compassion of the rich by focusing on the suffering of the poor through pictures and depending on sound and visual effects to collect donations. As for St. Paul, he encouraged the Corinthians to give by offering Christ as an example, “For you know the race of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor.:8:9 and offered them the example of the Macedonians who offered generously with joy out of their poverty because they first gave themselves to God. St. Paul did not focus on the suffering of the poor of Jerusalem in which he was calling to help, but focused on the importance of the giver having a strong relationship with Christ and gave the example of Christ in giving before them so that their heart would be open to give.

May the Lord strengthen your spiritual lives and grant you that you give your lives to Lord in order to give generously with joy to support St. Verena Charity to support your brethren the needy. May the blessing of our fathers the martyrs be with us all Amen.

Metropolitan Serapion