"If a poor man comes to you asking for bread, there is no end of complaints and reproaches and charges of idleness; you upbraid him, insult him, jeer at him. You fail to realize that you too are idle and yet God grants you gifts. Now don't tell me that you actually work hard. If you call earning money, making business deals, and caring for your possessions 'work,' I say, 'No, that is not work. But alms, prayers, the protection of the injured and the like - these are genuine 'work.'
GREAT LENT - Day Seventeen
You charge the poor with idleness; I charge you with corrupt behavior."
- St. John Chrysostom
If we allow for St. John's use of rhetoric - he is called the "Golden-Mouth" as we know - he offered quite a twist on the meaning of "work." I highly doubt he is telling hard working people to stop working and supporting themselves and their families; but he is reminding us in his blunt way that there is other "work" to be done, and that work is consistent with the Gospel. And also that the prosperous are wrong in blaming the poor for their hardship and suffering. Our own rhetoric as to why the poor are among us can often enough be nothing but empty and cruel complaints, as St. John says.
GREAT LENT - Day Eighteen
"Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate. Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter's storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven." - Amma Theodora
Here is a note on Amma Theodora's life: "Lived in the desert of Egypt in the fourth century. Not much is known about her. She was a colleague of Archbishop Theophilos of Alexandria.Many monastics came to her for spiritual education on the monastic life. Her feast day is September 1."
GREAT LENT - Day Nineteen
Saint Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Enlightener of Ireland
I assume that we all know that St. Patrick of Ireland is a saint of the Orthodox Church. All of the glorified/canonized women and men of the "pre-Schism" Church (before the events of the 11th - 13th c. - both East and West - are canonically considered saints of the Church. For today's Lenten Meditation, we can read this summary of St. Patrick's Life and rejoice in his love of Christ and commitment to spreading the Gospel.