Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

compassion

4 Entries

Compassion has a divine descent, because it is born of God; with God it develops and with God it matures. REF:Fr Justin Popvitch +1979



And what is a merciful heart? It is the heart's burning for the sake of the entire creation, for men, for birds, for animals, for demons and for every created thing; and by the recollection and sight of them the eyes of a merciful man pour forth abundant tears. From the strong and vehement mercy which grips his heart and from his great compassion, his heart is humbled and he cannot bear to hear or see any injury or slight sorrow in creation.

For this reason he continually offers up tearful prayer, even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth and for those who harm him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner he even prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns in his heart without measure in the likeness of God. St. Isaac The Syrian, Homily 81, from "The River of Fire", Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros



Antioch had another Patriarch who was compassionate and merciful; his name was Alexander. One of his secretaries once stole some gold from him, fled in fear and came to the Thebaid in Egypt. He was found wandering around by the bloodthirsty barbarians of Egypt and of the Thebaid; they took him to the remotest corner of their land. When the godly Alexander heard about this, he ransomed him from captivity at the cost of eighty-five pieces of gold. When the captive returned, the bishop was so loving and gentle with him that one of the inhabitants of the city once said: 'There is nothing more profitable or advantageous for me than to sin against Alexander." THE SPIRITUAL MEADOW of John Moscos

You ask, "Must one do something?" Of course one must! And do whatever comes along - in your circle of friends and in your surroundings -and believe that this is and will be your real work. More will not be demanded of you. It is a great misconception to think, whether for the sake of heaven or, as the modernists put it, to "make one's mark on humanity," that one must undertake great, reverberating tasks. Not at all.

It is necessary only to do everything according to the commandments of God. Just what exactly? Nothing in particular - only those things which present themselves to everyone in the circumstances of life, those things which are required by the every day happenings we all encounter.

This is how God is. God arranges the fate of each man, and the whole course of one's life is also the work of His most gracious foreknowledge, as is, therefore, every minute and every encounter.

Let's take an example: a beggar comes up to you; it is God who has brought him. What should you do? You must help him. God has brought the beggar, of course, desiring you to act toward this beggar in a manner pleasing to Him, and He watches to see what you will actually do ...If you do what is pleasing to God, you will be taking a step toward the ultimate goal, the inheritance of heaven.

Generalize this occurrence, and you find that in every situation and at every encounter one must do what God wants him to do. And we know truly what He wants from the commandments He has given us. If someone seeks help, then help him. If someone has offended you, forgive him. If you yourself have offended someone, then hasten to ask forgiveness and to make peace. St. Theophan the Recluse. Letter to a Young Girl. B#18.







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