Abba Poemen: Live humbly and give alms

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Sell your possessions and give alms; make to yourselves purses not growing old, an unfailing treasure in the heavens, where thief does not draw near, nor does moth destroy. Luke 12:33

“A brother asked Abba Poemen saying, ‘Give me a word’… The old man replied, ‘As far as you can, do some manual work so as to be able to give alms, for it is written that alms and faith purify from sin.’ The brother said, ‘What is faith?’ The old man said, ‘Faith is to live humbly and to give alms.'”

Abba Poemen (340-450) Egyptian Coptic Monk in The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection, trans. Benedicta Ward (Kalamazoo: Cistercian, 1975) 176.

The desert fathers spoke with simplicity and clarity. Here, Abba Poemen offers a good word  for everyone: live humbly and give alms! Consider again his wisdom.

Faith is realizing your role to work productively and not hold on to your surplus but to share it generously. But what do we normally do with our surplus? Think about it.

We buy things the advertisers tell us we need. No wonder Jesus said to sell those things and to pour the money into people. Who can you aid this Advent season?