STORIES FROM THE
Abba Markos asked Abba Arsenios :
"Is it proper, for someone not to
have any amenities in their cell ? Because I noticed a brother who had
a few vegetables and was uprooting them."
And Abba Arsenios replied :
"It certainly is proper, but only
proportionately to one's habits; because if one does not have the
strength to pursue this way of life, he will later plant other
Abba Agathon said :
"I have never given anything to
charity, but, I consider that my transactions with people were like a
charity in my favour, because I felt that my brother's profiting was
a fruit-giving labour."
He was once asked :
"What is avarice ?"
He replied :
"Not to believe that God attends to
your needs, also, to despair over God's promises, and to covet
Vasiliios the Great
Whom have I wronged , he (the wealthy
man) said, by protecting the things which belong to me ?
Tell me then, what are those things,
that belong to you ?
Where did you acquire them, and
subsequently placed them in your life ? (.......) Didn't you enter
this world naked ? Won't you return naked unto the earth ? Where did
you find those things which you now possess ? If you believe that
fortune gave them to you, then you are an atheist : you do not
acknowledge the creator, you do not feel gratitude towards the one who
gave them to you; if, however, you admit that they have come from God,
tell me, for what reason did He give them to you ? Is God perhaps
unjust, who therefore distributes unevenly the necessities for our
Why are you wealthy, and the other
one is poor ? For no other reason, than for you to be rewarded for
kindness and for proper management of the inheritance, while the other
earns the supreme prizes for his patience. However, you have hoarded
everything in the insatiable bosom of avarice; do you therefore
believe that you are not wronging anyone, when you deprive so many
others of this bounty?
Who then is greedy? It is he, who
does not limit himself to only the necessary things.
Who is a usurper ? He that takes away
Aren't you greedy ? Aren't you a
usurper ? Aren't you keeping for yourself all those things which
were given to you to be justly administered, for everyone's benefit
He that undresses a clothed person is
called a thief, but, shouldn't he that does not clothe a naked
person, perhaps deserve to be called by the same name ?
The bread which you have hoarded,
belongs to the hungry; the clothes which you amass, belong to the
naked, the shoes which you have, that stand rotting, belong to the
barefooted, the money which you bury, so that it may not be stolen,
belongs to the poor.
The number of people whom you have
wronged, are as many as those whom you could have helped.
Saint Mark the Ascetic
The root of all evils is known to be
avarice, but it is obvious that avarice consists of vainglory and
The mind is blinded by the following
three vices : avarice, vainglory and lasciviousness.
Saint Diadochus of Fotiki
The prerequisite and the definition
of disregard for wealth, is a person's desire not to possess
anything, with the same intensity that another desires to possess.
Three are the causes of avarice :
lasciviousness, vainglory and faithlessness, The worst of the three,
A lascivious person loves money, in
order to secure his pleasures;
the vainglorious uses it to acquire
the faithless will hoard it and guard
it, for fear of hunger, old age, sickness or expatriation.
He has more faith in his money than
in God, who created everything and who fends for the smallest and
least significant of animals.
Four are those who have interest in
money; three of them we have already mentioned, and fourth, the
economizer. It is obvious that only he shows the proper interest in
money, because by implementing it, he is enabled to continuously
distribute it to those in need .