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Reflections: Give & Take Section

Outstretched Hand

Give & Take | Home | Daily Digest | Reflections: A-Z | Categorized

Reflections: 

  Give & Take Section

Wisdom of the Popes, Saints, Theologians, Other...

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Basics / Misc.

Be Known by Works

Benefits of / Rewards for Good Works

Charity Begins at Home

Good Works of Others

Love for One's Neighbor / Good Works

Love of God / Good Works

Obligation to Perform Good Works

Pride / Good Works

Proper Intentions / Secrecy

Reception

Waste / Squander of Goods

When You Can't Help

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Category
Quotation

Basics / Misc.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 25:31-46)

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (Jms. 1:27)

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called 'the friend of God.' See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (Jms. 2:14-26)

"God loves the poor, and consequently He loves those who have an affection for the poor. For when we love anyone very much, we also love his friends." (St. Vincent de Paul)

"If we can enter the church day and night and implore God to hear our prayers, how careful we should be to hear and grant the petitions of our neighbors in need." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"[F]or nothing brings such prosperity as almsgiving." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith." (St. Paul, Gal. 6:10)

"It's in giving that we receive." (Attr. to St. Francis of Assisi)

"[A] hundred pounds are a greater gift to a poor man than to a king." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"When we give alms, we should think that we are giving to our Lord, and not to the poor. We often think we are reliving a poor person, and we find it is our Lord" (St. John Vianney)

"We ought therefore to do alms that we may be heard when we pray that our past sins may be forgiven, not that while we continue in them we may think to provide ourselves with a license for wickedness by alms-deeds." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"He therefore, who bestows food or raiment on the poor, but yet is stained with wickedness in his soul or body, offers the lesser to righteousness and the greater to sin, for to God he gives his possessions, but himself to the devil." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Don't you know that God laid down laws about almsgiving not so much for the sake of the poor as for the sake of those very people who make an offering?" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith, that the just ought not, for their good works done in God, to expect and hope for an eternal recompense from God, through His mercy and the merit of Jesus Christ, if so be that they persevere to the end in well doing and in keeping the divine commandments; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith, that the justified sins when he performs good works with a view to an eternal recompense; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"There are many kinds of alms the giving of which helps us to obtain pardon for our sins; but none is greater than that by which we forgive from our heart a sin that some one has committed against us." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"We are warned to do good works while we still have time (see Gal. 6:10) because 'the night is coming, when no one can work' (John 9:4) " (First Vatican Council, Schema)

"No one is so rich that he does not need another's help; no one so poor as not to be useful in some way to his fellow man; and the disposition to ask assistance from others with confidence and to grant it with kindness is part of our very nature." (Pope Leo XIII, Graves de Communi Re)

"[T]he Lord forewarns us that He will put alms done on the right hand, and on the left alms not done, to show us how mighty are alms to do away former sins, not to give impunity to a continuance in sin." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"You, then, who are rich and wealthy, buy for yourself from Christ gold purified in fire; for with your filth as if burned away in the fire, you can be like pure gold, if you are cleansed by almsgiving and works of justice. Buy yourself a white garment so that, although you had been naked like Adam, and were formerly frightful and deformed, you may be clothed in the garment of Christ.' " (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"Believe me, he who does not think of the wants of the poor is not a member of the body of Christ. For if one member suffers, all suffer." (St. Elphege)

"If you should suffer some disadvantage in helping a needy neighbor, reflect how much you will differ from your Lord, who gave his life and blood to help you." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"...do your best to give rather than to receive, for a spiritual man has possessions simply in order to benefit is neighbor." (St. Robert Southwell)

"The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow. It doesn't matter - do good." (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

"In addition, let the poor and all the wretched recall their great debt to the Catholic religion which keeps the teaching of Christ unspoiled and preaches it publicly. For He proclaimed that whatever benefits are conferred on the poor and wretched are likewise conferred on Himself (Mt. 18:15; 25:40-45). Furthermore, He wishes that all be informed of the special account He will take of these works of mercy on the Day of Judgment; that is, He will give the gift of eternal life to the faithful who engaged in works of mercy, and He will punish with eternal fire those who neglected them (Mt. 25.34f)." (Pope Pius IX, "Nostis et Nobiscum", 1849)

"Justice will never be fully attained unless people see in the poor person, who is asking for help in order to survive, not an annoyance or a burden, but an opportunity for showing kindness and a chance for greater enrichment." (Pope John Paul II)

"[W]e are forbidden to propose as the end of any good work the pleasing of any kind of men." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"[A] narrow heart contracteth the hand of the giver, a grateful and mindful heart causeth it to expand." (Pope Leo XIII, "Divinum Illud Munus", 1897)

"Evil is not the only thing that is contagious; goodness is as well. It is necessary that, at this favorable hours, goodness increasingly abound in us! " (Pope John Paul II)

"Each class must receive its due share, and the distribution of created goods must be brought into conformity with the demands of the common good and social justice, for every sincere observer is conscious that the vast differences between the few who hold excessive wealth and the many who live in destitution constitute a grave evil in modern society." (Pope Pius XI)

"It is certainly most lamentable, Venerable Brethren, that there have been, nay, that even now there are men who, although professing to be Catholics, are almost completely unmindful of that sublime law of justice and charity that binds us not only to render to everyone what is his but to succor brothers in need as Christ the Lord Himself" (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931)

"The rich should not place their happiness in things of earth nor spend their best efforts in the acquisition of them. Rather, considering themselves as only stewards of their earthly goods, let them be mindful of the account they must render of them to their Lord and Master, and value them as precious means that God has put into their hands for doing good; let them not fail, besides, to distribute their abundance to the poor, according to the evangelical precept." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris")

"But when on one hand We see thousands of the needy, victims of real misery for various reasons beyond their control, and on the other so many round about them who spend huge sums of money on useless things and frivolous amusements, We cannot fail to remark with sorrow not only that justice is poorly observed, but that the precept of charity also is not sufficiently appreciated, is not a vital thing in daily life." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris")

"[P]ity for the needy and the sick and works of charity and mutual aid intended to relieve human needs of every kind are held in highest honor by the Church." (Second Vatican Council)

"[F]or we hold burning lamps in our hands (Lk. 12:35), when by good works we show forth bright examples to our neighbors." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

"[I]t is a small thing not to do evil, unless also men strive to labor in good works" (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

"Scatter what you have, then, so that you may not lose; give away, so that you may keep; lay out, so that you may save; spend, so that you may gain. If your treasures are to be hoarded, don't be the one who hoards them, for in doing so you will surely be throwing them away." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"The rich man is not one who is in possession of much, but one who gives much." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"A spiritual alms is even more precious than a material one." (St. John Vianney)

"Giving and receiving - this is the principle of the multiplication of goods. It holds good in agriculture, in teaching, in any sort of trade." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"We are leaving nothing undone to provide timely relief for so many ills and all possible comfort for the accumulated miseries that weigh on not a few nations. But of the almost countless ills born of the dire struggle none so hurts or so wounds Our paternal heart as that which involves a host of innocent children, millions of whom it is estimated are in many countries without the necessities of life and are suffering from cold, hunger and disease. Often, too, in their utter dereliction they feel the want not only of food, clothes and shelter but also of the affection which their tender years so need... Let all remember and reflect that these children will be pillars of the next generation and that it is essential that they grow up healthy in mind and body if we are to avoid a race infected with sickness and vice... Those who are themselves less wealthy should give what they can with open hand and willing heart. Those who live in luxury should reflect and remember that the indigence, hunger and nakedness of these children will constitute a grave and severe indictment of them before God, the Father of mercies, if they harden their hearts and do not contribute generously. All, finally, should be convinced that their liberality will not be loss but gain, for we can safely say that one who gives from his means to the poor is lending to God Who, in His own time, will repay his generosity with abundant interest." (Pope Pius XII, "Quemadmodum", 1946)

"For, Venerable Brethren, We almost seem to see with Our own eyes the vast hosts of children weakened or at death's door through starvation. They hold out their little hands asking for bread 'and there is no one to break it unto them' (Lam. 4, 4). Without home, without clothing, they shiver in the winter cold and die. And there are no fathers or mothers to warm and clothe them. Ailing, or even in the last stages of consumption, they are without the necessary medicines and medical care. We see them, too, passing before Our sorrowful gaze, wandering through the noisy city street, reduced to unemployment and moral corruption, or drifting as vagrants uncertainly about the cities, the towns, the countryside, while no one - alas - provides safe refuge for them against want, vice and crime. How, then, can We desist, Venerable Brethren, when We love those children of Ours so intensely in the heart of Jesus Christ (Philip 1, 8); how can We desist from appealing again and again to you all individually and collectively and to all throughout the world who, like you, are inspired with a sense of mercy and piety, so that the full force of Christian charity - and it is a mighty force - may be pooled by willing and generous souls in order to mitigate and relieve their piteous condition. Let us use all the means that modern progress offers or recommends. Let new methods be devised which may, through the cooperation of all provide an effective remedy for present ills and for those which are feared in the future. Thus, may it speedily come about that with God's help and inspiration the snares of vice, which hold so many derelict children as an easy prey, may give way to the attraction of a virtuous life; that their blank idleness and gloomy sloth may give way to honest and cheerful employment; that for their hunger, starvation and nakedness they may have adequate relief from the Divine charity of Jesus Christ, which should be most alive, eager and strong among His followers at a time like this." (Pope Pius XII, "Quemadmodum", 1946)

"This zeal in coming to the rescue of our fellow men should, of course, be solicitous, first for the eternal good of souls, but it must not neglect what is good and helpful for this life. We should remember what Christ said to the disciple of the Baptist who asked him: 'Art thou he that art to come or look we for another?' He invoked, as proof of the mission given to Him among men, His exercise of charity, quoting for them the text of Isaias: 'The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the Gospel preached to them.' And speaking also of the last judgment and of the rewards and punishments He will assign, He declared that He would take special account of the charity men exercised toward each other. And in that discourse there is one thing that especially excites our surprise, viz., that Christ omits those works of mercy which comfort the soul and referring only to those which comfort the body, He regards them as being done to Himself: 'For I was hungry and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; naked and you covered Me; sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me'. To the teachings which enjoin the twofold charity of spiritual and corporal works Christ adds His own example, so that no one may fail to recognize the importance which He attaches to it. In the present instance we recall the sweet words that came from His paternal heart: 'I have pity on the multitude,' as well as the desire He had to assist them even if it were necessary to invoke His miraculous power. Of His tender compassion we have the proclamation made in holy Writ, viz., that 'He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Graves De Communi Re", 1901)

"What we learn from nature itself as our teacher is also a Christian dogma and on it the whole system and structure of religion rests, as it were, on its main foundation; namely, that when we have left this life, only then shall we truly begin to live. God has not created man for the fragile and transitory things of this world, but for Heaven and eternity, and He has ordained the earth as a place of exile, not as our permanent home. Whether you abound in, or whether you lack, riches and all the other things which are called good, is of no importance in relation to eternal happiness. But how you use them, that is truly of utmost importance." (Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum)

"We are sorry to note that not infrequently nowadays it happens that through a certain inversion of the true order of things, ready and bountiful assistance is provided for the unmarried mother and her illegitimate offspring (who, of course must be helped in order to avoid a greater evil) which is denied to legitimate mothers or given sparingly or almost grudgingly." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930)

"It is a capital evil...to take for granted that the one class of society is of itself hostile to the other, as if nature had set rich and poor against each other to fight fiercely in implacable war. This is so abhorrent to reason and truth that the exact opposite is true; for just as in the human body the different members harmonize with one another...so likewise nature has commanded in the case of the State that the two classes mentioned should agree harmoniously and should properly form equally balanced counterparts to each other. Each needs the other completely: neither capital can do without labor, nor labor without capital." (Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum)

"Let no one therefore, dearly beloved, flatter himself on any merits of a good life, if works of charity be wanting in him, and let him not trust in the purity of his body, if he be not cleansed by the purification of almsgiving. For 'almsgiving wipes out sin,' kills death, and extinguishes the punishment of perpetual fire. But he who has not been fruitful therein, shall have no indulgence from the great Recompenser, as Solomon says, 'He that closeth his ears lest he should hear the weak, shall himself call upon the Lord, and there shall be none to hear him.' And hence Tobias also, while instructing his son in the precepts of godliness, says, 'Give alms of thy substance, and turn not thy face from any poor man: so shall it come to pass that the face of God shall not be turned from thee.' This virtue makes all virtues profitable; for by its presence it gives life to that very faith, by which 'the just lives,' and which is said to be 'dead without works:' because as the reason for works consists in faith, so the strength of faith consists in works. 'While we have time therefore,' as the Apostle says, 'let us do that which is good to all men, and especially to them that are of the household of faith.' 'But let us not be weary in doing good; for in His own time we shall reap. And so the present life is the time for sowing, and the day of retribution is the time of harvest, when every one shall reap the fruit of his seed according to the amount of his sowing. And no one shall be disappointed in the produce of that harvesting, because it is the heart's intentions rather than the sums expended that will be reckoned up. And little sums from little means shall produce as much as great sums from great means." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"God's gifts, therefore, we must use properly and wisely, lest the material for good work should become an occasion of sin. For wealth, after its kind and regarded as a means, is good and is of the greatest advantage to human society, when it is in the bands of the benevolent and open-handed, and when the luxurious man does not squander nor the miser hoard it; for whether ill-stored or unwisely spent it is equally lost." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"The laity fulfill this mission of the Church in the world especially by conforming their lives to their faith so that they become the light of the world as well as by practicing honesty in all their dealings so that they attract all to the love of the true and the good and finally to the Church and to Christ. They fulfill their mission also by fraternal charity which presses them to share in the living conditions, labors, sorrows, and aspirations of their brethren with the result that the hearts of all about them are quietly prepared for the workings of saving grace. Another requisite for the accomplishment of their task is a full consciousness of their role in building up society whereby they strive to perform their domestic, social, and professional duties with such Christian generosity that their manner of acting should gradually penetrate the whole world of life and labor. This apostolate should reach out to all wherever they may be encountered; it should not exclude any spiritual or temporal benefit which they have the ability to confer. True apostles, however, are not content with this activity alone but endeavor to announce Christ to their neighbors by means of the spoken word as well. For there are many persons who can hear the Gospel and recognize Christ only through the laity who live near them." (Second Vatican Council)

"Now right reason demands that we should take into consideration something on the part of the giver, and something on the part of the recipient. On the part of the giver, it must be noted that he should give of his surplus, according to Luke 11:41: 'That which remaineth, give alms.' This surplus is to be taken in reference not only to himself, so as to denote what is unnecessary to the individual, but also in reference to those of whom he has charge (in which case we have the expression 'necessary to the person' [the official necessities of a person in position] taking the word person as expressive of dignity). Because each one must first of all look after himself and then after those over whom he has charge, and afterwards with what remains relieve the needs of others. Thus nature first, by its nutritive power, takes what it requires for the upkeep of one's own body, and afterwards yields the residue for the formation of another by the power of generation. On the part of the recipient it is requisite that he should be in need, else there would be no reason for giving him alms: yet since it is not possible for one individual to relieve the needs of all, we are not bound to relieve all who are in need, but only those who could not be succored if we not did succor them. For in such cases the words of Ambrose apply, 'Feed him that dies of hunger: if thou hast not fed him, thou hast slain him' (Canon Pasce, distinction 86, whence the words, as quoted, are taken). Accordingly we are bound to give alms of our surplus, as also to give alms to one whose need is extreme: otherwise almsgiving, like any other greater good, is a matter of counsel." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Alms may be considered abundant in relation either to the giver, or to the recipient: in relation to the giver, when that which a man gives is great as compared with his means. To give thus is praiseworthy, wherefore Our Lord (Luke 21:3,4) commended the widow because 'of her want, she cast in all the living that she had.' Nevertheless [certain] conditions must be observed... [concerning] giving alms out of one's necessary goods. On the part of the recipient, an alms may be abundant in two ways; first, by relieving his need sufficiently, and in this sense it is praiseworthy to give alms: secondly, by relieving his need more than sufficiently; this is not praiseworthy, and it would be better to give to several that are in need, wherefore the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 13:3): 'If I should distribute ... to feed the poor,' on which words a gloss comments: 'Thus we are warned to be careful in giving alms, and to give, not to one only, but to many, that we may profit many.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Corporal almsdeeds may be considered in three ways. First, with regard to their substance, and in this way they have merely a corporal effect, inasmuch as they supply our neighbor's corporal needs. Secondly, they may be considered with regard to their cause, in so far as a man gives a corporal alms out of love for God and his neighbor, and in this respect they bring forth a spiritual fruit, according to Ecclesiasticus 29:10, 11: 'Lose thy money for thy brother... place thy treasure in the commandments of the Most High, and it shall bring thee more profit than gold.' Thirdly, with regard to the effect, and in this way again, they have a spiritual fruit, inasmuch as our neighbor, who is succored by a corporal alms, is moved to pray for his benefactor; wherefore the above text goes on (Ecclesiasticus 29:12): 'Shut up alms in the heart of the poor, and it shall obtain help for thee from all evil.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"According to the Philosopher (Ethica Nicomachea ii,6), the mean of virtue is taken according to right reason, not according to the quantity of a thing. Consequently whatever may be done in accordance with right reason is not rendered sinful by the greatness of the quantity, but all the more virtuous. It would, however, be against right reason to throw away all one's possessions through intemperance, or without any useful purpose; whereas it is in accordance with right reason to renounce wealth in order to devote oneself to the contemplation of wisdom." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Absolutely speaking it is impossible to do good to every single one: yet it is true of each individual that one may be bound to do good to him in some particular case. Hence charity binds us, though not actually doing good to someone, to be prepared in mind to do good to anyone if we have time to spare. There is however a good that we can do to all, if not to each individual, at least to all in general, as when we pray for all, for unbelievers as well as for the faithful." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It does not belong to a liberal man so to give away his riches that nothing is left for his own support, nor the wherewithal to perform those acts of virtue whereby happiness is acquired. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethica Nicomachea iv,1) that 'the liberal man does not neglect his own, wishing thus to be of help to certain people" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[I]t is said (De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus xxxviii): 'It is a good thing to give away one's goods by dispensing them to the poor: it is better to give them away once for all with the intention of following the Lord, and, free of solicitude, to be poor with Christ.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Therefore, since the love of charity extends to all, beneficence also should extend to all, but according as time and place require: because all acts of virtue must be modified with a view to their due circumstances." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"When a man does a good deed, not of his own counsel, but moved by that of another, his deed is not yet quite perfect, as regards his reason in directing him and his appetite in moving him." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Man's folly too often dares to murmur against his Creator, not only in time of want, but also in time of plenty, so that, when something is not supplied, he complains, and when certain things are in abundance he is ungrateful. The lord of rich harvests thought scorn of his well-filled garners, and groaned over his abundant grape-gathering: he did not give thanks for the size of the crop, but complained of its poorness. And if the ground has been less prolific than its wont in the seed it has reared, and the vines and the olives have failed in their supply of fruit, the year is accused, the elements blamed, neither the air nor the sky is spared, whereas nothing better befits and reassures the faithful and godly disciples of Truth than the persistent and unwearied lifting of praise to God, as says the Apostle, 'Rejoice always, pray without ceasing: in all things give thanks. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus in all things for you.' But how shall we be partakers of this devotion, unless vicissitudes of fortune train our minds in constancy, so that the love directed towards God may not be puffed up in prosperity nor faint in adversity. Let that which pleases God, please us too. Let us rejoice in whatever measure of gifts He gives. Let him who has used great possessions well, use small ones also well. Plenty and scarcity may be equally for our good, and even in spiritual progress we shall not be cast down at the smallness of the results, if our minds become not dry and barren. Let that spring from the soil of our heart, which the earth gave not. To him that fails not in good will, means to give are ever supplied. Therefore, dearly beloved, in all works of godliness let us use what each year gives us, and let not seasons of difficulty hinder our Christian benevolence. The Lord knows how to replenish the widow's vessels, which her pious deed of hospitality has emptied: He knows how to turn water into wine: He knows how to satisfy 5,000 hungry persons with a few loaves. And He who is fed in His poor, can multiply when He takes what He increased when He gave." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Be steadfast, Christian giver: give what you may receive, sow what you may reap, scatter what you may gather. Fear not to spend, sigh not over the doubtfulness of the gain. Your substance grows when it is wisely dispensed. Set your heart on the profits due to mercy, and traffic in eternal gains. Your Recompenser wishes you to be munificent, and He who gives that you may have, commands you to spend, saying, 'Give, and it shall be given to you.' You must thankfully embrace the conditions of this promise. For although you have nothing that you did not receive, yet you cannot fail to have what you give. He therefore that loves money, and wishes to multiply his wealth by immoderate profits, should rather practice this holy usury and grow rich by such money-lending, in order not to catch men hampered with difficulties, and by treacherous assistance entangle them in debts which they can never pay, but to be His creditor and His money-lender, who says, 'Give, and it shall be given to you,' and 'with what measure ye measure, it shall be measured again to you.' But he is unfaithful and unfair even to himself, who does not wish to have for ever what he esteems desirable. Let him amass what he may, let him hoard and store what he may, he will leave this world empty and needy, as David the prophet says, 'for when he dieth he shall take nothing away, nor shall his glory descend with him.' Whereas if he were considerate of his own soul, he would trust his good to Him, who is both the proper Surety for the poor and the generous Repayer of loans. But unrighteous and shameless avarice, which promises to do some kind act but eludes it, trusts not God, whose promises never fail, and trusts man, who makes such hasty bargains; and while he reckons the present more certain than the future, often deservedly finds that his greed for unjust gain is the cause of by no means unjust loss." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"For men's methods would not have sufficed to give effect to their works, had not God given the increase to their wonted plantings and waterings. And hence it is but godly and just that we too should help others with that which the Heavenly Father has mercifully bestowed on us. For there are full many, who have no fields, no vineyards, no olive-groves, whose wants we must provide out of the store which God has given, that they too with us may bless God for the richness of the earth and rejoice at its possessors having received things which they have shared also with the poor and the stranger. That garner is blessed and most worthy that all fruits should increase manifold in it, from which the hunger of the needy and the weak is satisfied from which the wants of the stranger are relieved, from which the desire of the sick is gratified. For these men God has in His justice permitted to be afflicted with divers troubles, that He might both crown the wretched for their patience and the merciful for their loving-kindness." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"For there are those who blush openly to ask for what they want and prefer to suffer privation without speaking rather than to be put to shame by a public appeal. These are they whom we ought to 'consider' and relieve from their hidden straits in order that they may the more rejoice from the very fact that their modesty as well as poverty has been consulted. And rightly in the needy and poor do we recognize the person of Jesus Christ our Lord Himself, 'Who though He was rich,' as says the blessed Apostle, 'became poor, that He might enrich us by His poverty.' And that His presence might never seem to be wanting to us, He so effected the mystic union of His humility and His glory that while we adore Him as King and Lord in the Majesty of the Father, we might also feed Him in His poor, for which we shall be set free in an evil day from perpetual damnation, and for our considerate care of the poor shall be joined with the whole company of heaven." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[U]se God's gift piously and wisely. And since you rejoice in His bounty, take heed that you have those who may share in your joys. For many lack what you have in plenty, and some men's needs afford you opportunity for imitating the Divine goodness, so that through you the Divine benefits may be transferred to others also, and that by being wise stewards of your temporal goods, you may acquire eternal riches." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"At the present time, with the development of more rapid facilities for communication, with the barrier of distance separating men greatly reduced, with the inhabitants of the entire globe becoming one great family, these charitable activities and works have become more urgent and universal. These charitable enterprises can and should reach out to all persons and all needs. Wherever there are people in need of food and drink, clothing, housing, medicine, employment, education; wherever men lack the facilities necessary for living a truly human life or are afflicted with serious distress or illness or suffer exile or imprisonment, there Christian charity should seek them out and find them, console them with great solicitude, and help them with appropriate relief. This obligation is imposed above all upon every prosperous nation and person. In order that the exercise of charity on this scale may be unexceptionable in appearance as well as in fact, it is altogether necessary that one should consider in one's neighbor the image of God in which he has been created, and also Christ the Lord to Whom is really offered whatever is given to a needy person. It is imperative also that the freedom and dignity of the person being helped be respected with the utmost consideration, that the purity of one's charitable intentions be not stained by seeking one's own advantage or by striving for domination, and especially that the demands of justice be satisfied lest the giving of what is due in justice be represented as the offering of a charitable gift. Not only the effects but also the causes of these ills must be removed and the help be given in such a way that the recipients may gradually be freed from dependence on outsiders and become self-sufficient. Therefore, the laity should hold in high esteem and, according to their ability, aid the works of charity and projects for social assistance, whether public or private, including international programs whereby effective help is given to needy individuals and peoples." (Second Vatican Council)

"Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work." (St. Paul, 2 Cor. 9:8)

"[God] will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness." (St. Paul, Rom. 2:5-8)

"Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life." (St. Paul, 1 Tm. 6:18-19)

"[O]ur love of God is false if our hearts are not disposed to show mercy to our neighbor, and help him in his necessities and troubles." (Gueranger)

"The charity which the world has set up, which it calls philanthropy, and which it exercises not in the name of God, but solely for the sake of man, is a mere delusion; it is incapable of producing love between those who give and those who receive, and its results must necessarily be unsatisfactory. There is but one tie which can make men love one another: that tie is God, who created them all, and commands them all to be one in Him. To serve mankind for its own sake, is to make a god of it; and even viewing the workings of the two systems in this single point of view - the relief they afford to temporal suffering - what comparison is there between mere philanthropy, and that supernatural charity of the humble disciples of Christ, who make Him the very motive and end of all thy do for their afflicted brethren?... Philanthropy may be generous, and its workings may be admirable for ingenuity and order; but it never can look upon the poor man as a sacred object, because it refuses to see God in him. Pray for the men of this generation, that they may at length desist from perverting charity into a mere mechanism of relief. The poor are the representatives of Christ, for He Himself has willed that they be such; and if the world refuse to accept them in this their exalted character, if it deny their resemblance to our redeemer, it may succeed in degrading the poor, but by this very degradation, it will make them its enemies." (Gueranger)

"God has made it a law, to which He has graciously bound Himself, that charity shown towards our fellow-creatures, with the intention of appeasing our Creator, shall be rewarded as though it were done to Himself. How vividly this brings before us the reality and sacredness of the tie which He would have to exist between all men! Such, indeed, is the necessity, that our heavenly Father will not accept the love of any heart that refuses to show mercy: but, on the other hand, He accepts as genuine and as done to Himself the charity of every Christian, who, by a work of mercy shown to a fellow man, is really acknowledging and honoring that sublime union which makes all men to be one family with God as its Father. Hence it is that almsdeeds, done with this intention, are not merely acts of human kindness, but are raised to the dignity of acts of religion, which have God for their direct object, and have the power of appeasing His divine justice." (Gueranger)

Also See: Deeds / Works (Scripture) | Almsgiving (Scripture) | Tough Love in the New Testament

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Be Known by Works

"Let us be known by our works" (St. Marguerite Bourgeoys)

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Benefits of / Rewards for Good Works

"He will pardon you many crimes for the one offence you forgive your neighbor; He will be long-suffering with you in return for a little patience shown towards others: He will reward you with abundant riches for the small alms you bestow. Strive earnestly, therefore, to keep the law of charity, for in that is your life." (St. John of Avila)

"Every good deed is rewarded" (St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church)

"Our prayers become effective through almsgiving; life is redeemed from dangers by almsgiving; souls are delivered from death by almsgiving." (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

A reward is due to good works, if they are performed; but grace, which is not due, precedes, that they may be done. (St. Prosper/Council of Orange II, 529 A.D.)

"What joy will there be at the judgment for those who will learn from Jesus Christ that the kindness they showed to the poor was kindness shown to him. 'Yes,' he will say to them, 'it was I myself that you came to see in that poor person; it was to me that you rendered that service; it was to me that you gave alms at your door.'" (St. John Vianney)

"Always dispose of a part of your means by giving freely alms to the poor, for you impoverish yourself by that which you give, and the more it is the more you are impoverished. Undoubtedly God will restore it to you in this world as well as in the next, for nothing brings such prosperity as almsgiving." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"[N]othing is so much a man's own as that which he spends on his neighbor. For that part of his material possessions with which he ministers to the needy, is transformed into eternal riches, and such wealth is begotten of this bountifulness as can never be diminished or in any way destroyed" (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Deeds / Works (Scripture)  

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Charity Begins at Home

Also See: Love / Charity (Topic Page)

"So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith." (Gal. 6:10) 

"It is to those who have the most need of us that we ought to show our love more especially." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"It is with commendable liberality that you forget not your kindred, if you know them to be in need, for it is better that you should yourself help your own family, who would be ashamed to beg help from others." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"Since one cannot do good to all, we ought to consider those chiefly who by reason of place, time or any other circumstance, by a kind of chance are more closely united to us." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"[W]e ought to be most beneficent towards those who are most closely connected with us. Now one man's connection with another may be measured in reference to the various matters in which men are engaged together; (thus the intercourse of kinsmen is in natural matters, that of fellow-citizens is in civic matters, that of the faithful is in spiritual matters, and so forth): and various benefits should be conferred in various ways according to these various connections, because we ought in preference to bestow on each one such benefits as pertain to the matter in which, speaking simply, he is most closely connected with us. And yet this may vary according to the various requirements of time, place, or matter in hand: because in certain cases one ought, for instance, to succor a stranger, in extreme necessity, rather than one's own father, if he is not in such urgent need." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Now no benefactor confers a benefit equal to that which a man receives from his parents: wherefore in paying back benefits received, we should give the first place to our parents before all others, unless, on the other side, there be such weightier motives, as need or some other circumstance, for instance the common good of the Church or state. In other cases we must take to account the connection and the benefit received; and here again no general rule can laid down." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"For it must be understood that, other things being equal, one ought to succor those rather who are most closely connected with us. And if of two, one be more closely connected, and the other in greater want, it is not possible to decide, by any general rule, which of them we ought to help rather than the other, since there are various degrees of want as well as of connection: and the matter requires the judgment of a prudent man." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Since you can't do good for everybody, first care for those who by chance of place or time or any other circumstance are closest to you. When our Lord told us not to invite our friends, brothers and kinsmen to our banquet, but rather the poor and disabled, he was not forbidding us to invite kinsmen as such, but rather forbidding the kind of inviting that wants to be invited back, and stems from greed rather than charity." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

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Good Works of Others

"For indeed we sin greatly if we love not the good deeds of others." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

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Love for One's Neighbor / Good Works

Also See: Love / Charity (Topic Page)

"It is possible, accordingly, to judge how perfect is one's love for one's neighbor by considering what a man gives up for the love of his neighbor." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[C]harity, if it does not issue effectively in good works, is something altogether empty and unprofitable" (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943)

"Christian charity towards our neighbor absolutely demands that those things which are lacking to the needy should be provided; hence it is incumbent on the rich to help the poor, so that, having an abundance of this world's goods, they may not expend them fruitlessly or completely squander them, but employ them for the support and well-being of those who lack the necessities of life. They who give of their substance to Christ in the person of His poor will receive from the Lord a most bountiful reward when He shall come to judge the world; they who act to the contrary will pay the penalty. Not in vain does the Apostle warn us: 'He that hath the substance of this world and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?'" (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930)

"For to be sure a characteristic of Christian charity is that it extends equally to all" (Pope Leo XIII, "Reputantiubus", 1901)

"[I]t is the heart that makes a gift rich or poor, and gives things their value." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"[A]lmsgiving can be materially without charity, but to give alms formally, i.e. for God's sake, with delight and readiness, and altogether as one ought, is not possible without charity." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[I]n all gratuitous givings, the primary reason of the giving is love" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"They who give of their substance to Christ in the person of His poor will receive from the Lord a most bountiful reward when He shall come to judge the world; they who act to the contrary will pay the penalty. Not in vain does the Apostle warn us: 'He that hath the substance of this world and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?'" (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930)

"For the law of Christ is Charity; since it has from Him bountifully bestowed on us good things, and has patiently borne our evil things. We, therefore, then fulfill by imitation the law of Christ when we both kindly bestow our good things and piously endure the evil things of our friends." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"The Christian law of charity...embraces all men, irrespective of ranks, as members of one and the same family, children of the same most beneficent Father, redeemed by the same Savior and called to the same eternal heritage." (Pope Leo XIII, Graves de Communi Re)

"Still more important as a remedy for the evil we are considering, or certainly more directly calculated to cure it, is the precept of charity. We have in mind that Christian charity, 'patient and kind,' which avoids all semblance of demeaning paternalism, and all ostentation; that charity which from the very beginning of Christianity won to Christ the poorest of the poor, the slaves." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"For it is the genuine effect of charity that the just soul, in whom God dwells by grace, burns in a wondrous way to call others to share in the knowledge and love of that Infinite Good, which she has attained and possesses." (Pope Pius XI, "Mens Nostra", 1929)

Also See: Deeds / Works (Scripture) | Love (Scripture)

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Love of God / Good Works

Also See: Love / Charity (Topic Page)

"The love of God is fostered by good works." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

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Obligation to Perform Good Works 

"Temporal goods are given to us by the liberality of God, and He will demand an account of them, for they were committed to us for disposal as well as possession." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"The right of having a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneself and one's family belongs to everyone. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church held this opinion, teaching that men are obliged to come to the relief of the poor and to do so not merely out of the superfluous goods... The sacred council urges all to...remember the aphorism of the Fathers, 'Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him'' (Second Vatican Council)

"Superfluous incomes are not left entirely to man's discretion; that is, wealth that he does not need to sustain life fittingly and becomingly; but on the other hand Sacred Scripture and the holy Fathers of the Church continuously declare in clearest words that the rich are bound most seriously by the precept of practicing charity, beneficence, and liberality." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo anno", May 15, 1931 A.D.)

"Believe me, he who does not think of the wants of the poor is not a member of the body of Christ. For if one member suffers, all suffer." (St. Elphege)

"...though faith is the first essential of a Christian, yet without works it is a dead faith, and will not save us (Jms. 2:26)." (Gueranger)

"It is lawful for man to own his own things. It is even necessary for human life.' But if the question be asked: How ought man use his possessions? the Church replies without hesitation: 'As to this point, man ought not regard external goods as his own, but as common, so that, in fact, a person should readily share them when he sees others in need'" (Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum)

"Let no one attempt with trifling charitable donations to exempt himself from the great duties imposed by justice. Both justice and charity often dictate obligations touching on the same subject matter, but under different aspects " (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris")

"For when we administer the necessities to the needy, we give them what is their own, not what is ours; we pay a debt of justice, rather than do a work of mercy." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"It is a duty and honor for Christians to return to God a part of the good things that they receive from Him." (Second Vatican Council)

"Scatter what you have, then, so that you may not lose; give away, so that you may keep; lay out, so that you may save; spend, so that you may gain. If your treasures are to be hoarded, don't be the one who hoards them, for in doing so you will surely be throwing them away." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"That by the command, You shall love your neighbor, all mankind were intended, the Lord showed in the parable of the man who was left half dead, which teaches us that our neighbor is every one who may happen at any time to stand in need of our offices of mercy; and this who does not see must be denied to none, when the Lord says, Do good to them that hate you." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The bread that you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; and the gold that you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Alms are an inheritance and a justice which is due to the poor, and which Jesus Christ has levied upon us." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"It would be considered a theft on our part if we didn't give to someone in greater need than we are." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"Therefore every tree that brings not forth good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire, because he who here neglects to bring forth the fruit of good works finds a fire in hell prepared for him." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

"Temporal goods are given to us by the liberality of God, and He will demand an account of them, for they were committed to us for disposal as well as possession." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"No man is punished eternally for omitting to do what is not a matter of precept. But some are punished eternally for omitting to give alms, as is clear from Matthew 25:41-43. Therefore almsgiving is a matter of precept... As love of our neighbor is a matter of precept, whatever is a necessary condition to the love of our neighbor is a matter of precept also. Now the love of our neighbor requires that not only should we be our neighbor's well-wishers, but also his well-doers, according to 1 John 3:18: 'Let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth.' And in order to be a person's well-wisher and well-doer, we ought to succor his needs: this is done by almsgiving. Therefore almsgiving is a matter of precept." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"There is a time when we sin mortally if we omit to give alms; on the part of the recipient when we see that his need is evident and urgent, and that he is not likely to be succored otherwise - on the part of the giver, when he has superfluous goods, which he does not need for the time being, as far as he can judge with probability. Nor need he consider every case that may possibly occur in the future, for this would be to think about the morrow, which Our Lord forbade us to do (Matthew 6:34), but he should judge what is superfluous and what necessary, according as things probably and generally occur." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"One must do all one can for everybody, expecting no return save from God only." (St. John Vianney)

"Labor without stopping; do all the good works you can while you still have the time." (St. John of God)

Also See: Basics / Misc. | Deeds / Works (Scripture)Tough Love in the New Testament

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Pride / Good Works

"Pride lies in wait for good works, that it may destroy them." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

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Proper Intentions / Secrecy

"...it is not the size and greatness of deeds which give them merit, but the pure intention with which they are undertaken" (St. John Vianney)

"When the poor are helped there ought to be these two conditions: generosity and joy." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"For a good life consists in good deeds. Now in order to do good deeds, it matters not only what a man does, but also how he does it; to wit, that he does it from right choice and not merely from impulse or passion." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"God bestows more consideration on the purity of intention with which our actions are performed than on the actions themselves." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"God is more pleased by one work, however small, done secretly, without desire that it be known, than a thousand done with desire that men know of them." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"The intent with which He said all this is shown in that He adds, 'that your alms may be in secret' (Mt. 6:4); that is, in that your good conscience only, which human eye cannot see, nor words discover, though many things are said falsely of many. But your good conscience itself is enough for you towards deserving your reward, if you look for your reward from Him who alone can see your conscience. This is that He adds, 'And your Father who sees shall reward you.'" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Certainly, God does not forbid us to perform our works before men, but He desires that they should be done for His sake alone, and not for the sake of the glory of the world." (St. John Vianney)

"A good work talked about is a good work spoiled." (St. Vincent de Paul)

"Which means that every one who thinks highly of his own deserts, shall be humbled before God; and every one who humbles himself concerning his good deeds, shall be exalted with God." (Remigius)

"The trumpet ['do not sound a trumpet before yourself ...' (Mt. 6:2)] stands for every act or word that tends to a display of our works; for instance, to do alms if we know that some other person is looking on, or at the request of another, or to a person of such condition that he may make us return; and unless in such cases not to do them. Yea, even if in some secret place they are done with intent to be thought praiseworthy, then is the trumpet sounded." (Psuedo-Chrys, as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

"But there is nothing intervening between God's work and His command, that we may see in the inclination of the healer the power of the work. Hence it follows, 'And immediately the leprosy departed from him'. But lest leprosy should become rife among us, let each avoid boasting after the example of our Lord's humility. For it follows, 'And he commanded him that he should tell it to no one', that in truth he might teach us that our good deeds are not to be made public, but to be rather concealed, that we should abstain not only from gaining money, but even favor." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"If you assist to rob others of their possessions, your honesty is not to be commended, nor is your liberality genuine if you give for the sake of boasting rather than of pity." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"He who sounds a trumpet before himself when he does alms is a hypocrite." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"If therefore you desire spectators of your good deeds, behold you have not merely Angels and Archangels, but the God of the universe." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Remember, the sinner who is sorry for his sins is closer to God than the just man who boasts of his good works." (St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina)

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Reception

"They, also, who obtain money under pretence of poverty, or by deceitful words, may be said to steal, and their guilt is aggravated since they add falsehood to theft." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"It is wrong for anyone to be anxious to receive more from his neighbor than he himself is willing to give to God." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"We ought to imitate the liberality of the soil, which repays, with usurious interest, the smallest seed that is sown therein. Holy Scripture compares an ungrateful person to a field or vine, which remains barren if not carefully cultivated; on the other hand, a grateful man is like a fruitful field, and which increases in value a hundredfold. It is thus that we must act towards those from whom we have received benefits, and be not like the ungrateful and avaricious land, which retains the seed. It is not every one who has the power of doing good, but we can always show our gratitude, for ingratitude is an unpardonable vice." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

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Waste / Squander of Goods

"It is nothing less than an outrage to justice and humanity to destroy or to squander goods that other people need for their very lives." (Pope John XXIII)

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When You Can't Help

"If you cannot give alms yourself you can pray that God will inspire someone else to do so." (St. John Vianney)

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