The Shepherd, December 2009
Christ is Born!
Give ye glory!
We greet our readers, supporters, and benefactors on the
Great Feasts of the Nativity of our Saviour & the Holy
Theophany. May the light, joy and grace of these saving
festivals spiritually sustain you through the dark Winter months
and the whole Coming Year.
FROM THE FATHERS
“RECEIVE STRANGERS, my beloved; overcome that unreadiness which wins no reward, for the Saviour will multiply your little many times beyond expectation, and though you give but little, you will receive much. For he who sows blessings will also reap blessings.”
Saint Cyril of Alexandria, + 444 A.D.
“LET ALL GUESTS that come be received like Christ Himself, for He will say I was a stranger and ye took Me in. And let fitting honour be shown to all, especially such as are of the household of the Faith and to wayfarers. When, therefore, a guest is announced, let him be met by the superior or the brethren with all due charity. . . . Let special care be taken in the reception of the poor and of wayfarers, because in these Christ is more truly welcomed.”
Ven. Benedict of Nursia, + c. 550 A.D.
“DO NOT NEGLECT the commandment of love; for through it you will become a son of God, but transgressing it you will become a son of Gehenna.”
Ven. Maximus the Confessor, + 662 A.D.
“ACCEPTING the task of hospitality, the Patriarch [Abraham] used to sit at the entrance to his tent (cf. Gen. 18:1), inviting all who passed by, and his table was laden for all comers, including the impious and barbarians, without distinction. Hence he was found worthy of that wonderful banquet, when he received the angels and the Master of all as his guests. We, too, should actively and eagerly cultivate hospitality, so that we may receive not only angels, but also God Himself. For inasmuch, says the Lord, as ye have done it to one of the least of these My brethren ye have done it unto Me (Matt 25:40). It is good to be generous to all, especially to those who cannot repay you.”
Ven. Theodore the Great Ascetic, Bishop of Edessa
“THE HOLY MONKS constantly remembered Christ’s words: Amen, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. They did not stop to consider whether their neighbour deserved their respect or not; they paid no attention to his numerous and obvious defects. Their attention was taken up with seeing that they did not somehow fail to realize that our neighbour is the image of God, and that Christ accepts what we do to our neighbour as if it were done to Him.”
Saint Ignatius (Brianchaninov) of the Caucasus, + 1867 A.D.