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October 12, 2011 + from Homily XIX

The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the 2nd Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians

"Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart."  (2 Corinthians 9:7) 

For a man when left to himself, does a thing more readily than when compelled. Wherefore also he dwells upon this:  for having said, "according as he is disposed," he added, "Not grudgingly, nor of necessity." And neither was he content with this, but he adds a testimony from Scripture also, saying,

"For God loveth a cheerful giver."

Seest thou how frequently he lays this down? "I speak not by commandment:" and, "Herein I give my advice:" and, "as a matter of bounty, and not as of extortion," and again, "not grudgingly, nor of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver."  In this passage I am of opinion that a large [giver] is intended; the Apostle however has taken it as giving with readiness.  For because the example of the Macedonians and all those other things were enough to produce sumptuousness, he does not say many things on that head, but upon giving without reluctance. For if it is a work of virtue, and yet all that is done of necessity is shorn of its reward, with reason also he labors at this point. And he does not advise merely, but also adds a prayer, as his wont is to do, saying, 

(Verse 8) "And may God, that is able, fulfill all grace towards you."

By this prayer he takes out the way a thought which lay in wait against this liberality and which is now also an hindrance to many.  For many persons are afraid to give alms, saying, 'Lest perchance I become poor,' 'lest perchance I need aid from others.' To do away with this fear then, he adds this prayer, saying, May "He make all grace abound towards you."  Not merely fulfill, but "make it abound." And what is "make grace abound?"  'Fill you,' he means, 'with so great things, that ye may be able to abound in this liberality.'

"That ye, having always all sufficiency in every thing, may abound to every good work."

Observe, even in this his prayer, his great philosophy. He prays not for riches nor for abundance, but for all sufficiency. Nor is this all that is admirable in him; but that as he prayed not for superfluity, so he doth not press sore on them nor compel them to give of their want, condescending to their weakness; but asks for a "sufficiency," and shows at the same time that they ought not to abuse the gifts received from God.  "That ye may abound," he saith, "to every good work."  'It is therefore,' saith he, 'I ask for this, that ye may bestow on others also.' Yet he did not say, 'bestow,' but 'abound.'  For in carnal things he asks for a sufficiency for them, but in spiritual things for abundance even; not in almsgiving only, but in all other things also, "unto every good work."  Then he brings forward unto them the prophet for a counselor, having sought out a testimony inviting them to bountifulness, and says, 

(Verse 9) "As it is written, He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the poor; His righteousness abideth for ever."

This is the import of "abound;" for the words, "he hath dispersed abroad," signify nothing else but the giving plentifully.  For if the things themselves abide not, yet their results abide.  For this is the thing to be admired, that when they are kept they are lost; but when dispersed abroad they abide, yea, abide forever.  Now by "righteousness," here, he means love towards men.  For this maketh righteous, consuming sins like a fire when it is plentifully poured out.


Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion- October 16

Troparion of St. Longinus, Tone 1

O Longinus, thou didst behold the King of Glory nailed to the Cross yet shining on those in darkness. Thou wast enlightened by His rays and didst become a martyr and dost save those who cry: Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion of St. Longinus, Tone 4

Today the Church rejoices in memory of the glorious Athlete Longinus, crying: Thou art my strength and my stronghold, O Christ.