This, lifted off the OCA website...I can't find the reference anywhere, although here's the quote: St. Basil the Great wrote in the fourth century: "the coat that hangs in your closet belongs on the shoulders of your brother who is naked, the extra shoes belong on the feet of the one who has none..."
So, getting ready for the Nativity fast:
I'm learning that there is a special emphasis on Almsgiving during the Nativity fast. Our hearts need to be quieted, and to be freed from materialism, especially during this time of year. The world wants to lead us quite in the opposite direction.
There are some really good notes here about what it's all about.
Father Justin read the famous quote by St. Basil the other day...the one that by the extra clothes hanging in our closet we are robbing the poor. I'd heard it before, but this time it really struck me.
I generally consider myself to be fairly non-materialistic. I don't own as much as many people do, and much of what I own, I consider to be fairly low-brow/crappy. There's a hint about what's in my heart, if ever there was one. Because what is in my heart is quite a bit of materialism, I think. This desire to own nice things. Or at least things nice enough that I can fake feeling good about my stuff. I drive by the mall, say a few disparaging things about it, but secretly wish I could shop there. I secretly am embarrassed about my home and the fact that I have duct tape in my refrigerator and a hole in my bathroom wall. So I don't practice hospitality very often. Yeah, that's what's in my heart. And it needs to change.
So, our parish is having a closet clear out. And then we are going to find a way to give our stuff to the poor. This fits with the "100 things" clear out that I've seen on other blogs.
I found I own way too many dishes. Way more than I need. And I've been hoarding more clothes for the kids than they need. And those clothes that are hanging in my closet that get passed over again and again. I had already done a big clear out in my closet a few months ago, so the problem there was minimal, but I did detect a few pieces of evidence of my greed. I thought this was an area where we were doing well (much smug self-righteouness) but shining the light of the gospel on it, shows up my sins. What struck me most was what I had to deal with in my own heart as I was going through our stuff.
The good result is, that I got a storage area of our house that was very very messy cleaned up and organized in the process of doing this work. So that is a good thing, as well.