Charity is a Matter of the Heart

Lenten Rose

“All offerings and charity to the poor will not replace love for our neighbor, if there is no love in the heart; therefore, in bestowing charity, we must be careful that it should be bestowed lovingly, from a sincere heart, willingly, and not with a feeling of vexation against the poor. The very word charity shows that it should be an act or offering of the heart, and should be bestowed with feeling or pity for the unfortunate condition of the poor person, and with a feeling of, or contrition for, our sins, to cleanse which the charity is bestowed; ‘for alms…(according to the scripture) shall purge away all sin.’ (Tobit XII, 9). He who bestows charity unwillingly and with vexation, avariciously, does not recognize his sins, has not learned to know himself. Charity is, first of all, a benefit to those who bestow it.”   (St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ, pgs. 66-67)