SUBLIME PHILANTHROPY IN THE ANTI-HERETICAL OPUS
(SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM)
So, let us search for them throughout our lives and with their souls let us edify the Church and gather that wealth. Nothing is of equal worth to the soul, not even the entire world. So that even if you give an infinite amount of money to the poor, you are not doing anything of equal worth, compared to what is done by one who contributes towards the return of a single soul. “He who makes someone unworthy precious, will be one like my own mouth,” he says.
Almsgiving to the poor may be a great virtue, but it is not in the least the same as liberating people from delusion, because whoever does this, resembles Paul and Peter.
In other words, we may have accepted their preaching, not in order to experience dangers as they had and to suffer hunger and disease and other things - because we are living in a peaceful era – but in order to show our immense willingness; in fact, while being able to remain in our home we can be simultaneously “fishing” for souls. Whoever has a friend, a relative or an acquaintance, let them act thus by telling them these things, and they too will be as Peter and Paul.
And what am I saying “as Peter and Paul”? Indeed, they will be like the mouth of Christ. “He who makes someone unworthy precious, will be like my mouth,” he says. And if you do not convince anyone today, you will convince someone tomorrow, and if you never convince anyone, you will still receive your full wages; and if you do not convince everyone, you will be able to convince a few of the many, because even the apostles did not convince everyone, but they had preached to everyone and they will receive wages for all their work.
That is to say, God determines what crowns He will give to each, not based on the result of their actions, but by the disposition of those who act. And even if you offer only “two small coins”, He will accept them, and whatever He did in the case of the widow (with her minimal tithe of 2 small coins), He will likewise do in the case of those who teach.
Therefore do not disregard even the few, just because you cannot save the entire world, nor detach yourself from the smaller things, just because you desire the greater ones.
And if you cannot convince a hundred, look after the ten, and if you cannot convince the ten, do not disregard even the five; and if you cannot convince the five, do not be indifferent towards the one, and if you cannot convince the one, even then do not be upset, and do not remove yourself from your opus.
Translation: K. N.