Let us take care of Christ
Alright, last post from Gregory:
Yet think, I beg you, of humanity’s original equality, not of its later diversity; think not of the conqueror’s law, but of the creator’s…Let the one with good health or with riches come to the aid of the ailing and the needy; let the one who has never stumbled help the one who has fallen and is being trodden down…become more eminent than your neighbor by showing yourself more generous; become a god to the unfortunate, by imitating the mercy of God. For a human being has no more godlike ability than that of doing good; and even if God is benefactor on a grander scale, and humans on a lesser, still each does so, I think, to the full extent of his powers… The instruments of the Spirit have not simply spoken once or twice about the needy and then fallen silent; nor was it simply some of them and not others, or some more and others less, as if they were dealing with no great matter, with nothing of pressing importance. No – all of them laid this command on us, each with the greatest urgency, either as the first of our duties or as one of the first…
Do you think that kindness to others is not a necessity for you, but a matter of choice? That it is not a law, but simply an exhortation? I used to wish this very much myself, and supposed it to be true. But that ‘left hand’ has instilled fear in me, and the ‘goats,’ and the rebukes that will come from him who raises them to stand before him: condemned to be in this class, not because they have committed theft or sacrilege, or adultery, or have done anything else forbidden by the Law, but because they have not cared for Christ through the needy! If you believe me at all then, servants and brothers and sisters and fellow heirs of Christ, let us take care of Christ while there is still time; let us minister to Christ’s needs, let us give Christ nourishment, let us clothe Christ, let us gather Christ in, let us show Christ honor…since the Lord of all things ‘desires mercy and not sacrifice,’ and since ‘a compassionate heart is worth more than tens of thousands of fat rams,’ let us give this gift to him through the needy, who today are cast down on the ground, so that when we all are released from this place, they may receive us into the eternal tabernacle, in Christ himself, who is our Lord, to whom be glory for all the ages. Amen.
On the Love of the Poor, 26-27, 35, 39-40.