LENT: Saturday after Ash Wednesday

“If you lavish your food on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then your light shall rise in the darkness, and your gloom shall become like midday...” (Isaiah 58:10)

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus reflects on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“[My father] actually treated his own property as if it were another’s, of which he was but the steward, relieving poverty as far as he could and expending not only his superfluities but his necessities — a manifest proof of love for the poor, giving a portion not only to seven, according to the injunction of Solomon, but if an eighth came forward, not even in his case being stingy but more pleased to dispose of his wealth than we know others are to acquire it. This is what most people do: they give indeed, but without that readiness that is a greater and more perfect thing than the mere offering. For he thought it much better to be generous even to the undeserving for the sake of the deserving than from fear of the undeserving to deprive those who were deserving. And this seems to be the duty of casting our bread on the waters, since it will not be swept away or perish in the eyes of the just Investigator but will arrive yonder where all that is ours is laid up and will meet with us in due time, even though we think it not. But what is best and greatest of all, [my father’s] magnanimity was accompanied by freedom from ambition.” (On the Death of His Father [Oration 18], 20)

Almighty ever-living God,
look with compassion on our weakness
and ensure us your protection
by stretching forth the right hand of your majesty.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen