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On Charity: Service

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Written by Basil on 12/6/2004 8:32 AM. Filed under:

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A brother questioned an old man, saying: “Here are two brothers. One of them leads a solitary life for six days a week, giving himself much pain, and the other serves the sick. Whose work does God accept with the greater favor?”

The old man said: “Even if the one who withdraws for six days were to hang himself up by the nostrils, he could not equal the one who serves the sick.”

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3 Responses to “On Charity: Service”

  1. Fr Francis+ Says:

    May I point you to the 25th Chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew, begining at the 31st verse…

  2. Erich Says:

    It seems reminiscent of a debate over monasticism that occurred in Russia way back when and has had long-reaching implications. The “ascetic” group believed in purity, rigor and seclusion, while the “kenotic” group believed in less rigor, but necessary interaction with the local society. Eventually the kenotics won the Russian heart, although both figures have always been present. Indeed, Bolshevik culture can, in some ways, be seen in through the lens of the ascetic approach (see Dr. Zhivago). If you read Dostoevsky, though, he has no sympathy for ascetics whatsoever and sees kenosis as the key to everything. This is perhaps most clearly displayed in Bro’s K, where the ascetic Father Ferapont constrasts sharply (and negatively) with the kenotic Elder Zossima.

  3. Jeff Says:

    Ah, I love it. Reminds me of another saying of the desert fathers: Abba Poemen said: “If three men meet, of whom the first fully preserves interior peace, and the second gives thanks to God in illness, and the third serves with a pure mind, these three are doing the same work.”