Saint John Chrysostom
If we don’t fulfill God’s will the place doesn’t save us. Each one of us is saved by his mind which is voluntarily seeking God. There is no avail from a high-ranking position, nor from a holy place for the one who doesn’t fulfill God’s command. What other position is it higher than Adam’s immortal dominion and what other place is it more beautiful than heaven from where Adam was banished after he had violated God’s commandment?
And contrariwise, what is more disgraceful than trash, where Job sat and kept God’s commandment and gained a place for himself in heaven? And Saul owning a kingdom and living in great palaces lost this life and didn’t conquer his afterlife either. And Lot, being in Sodoma, in the middle of a lawless people, fulfilling God’s commandments saved his soul and got his wreath together with the saints. And if someone said that he couldn’t find his salvation in the world, with wife and children, one like that foolishly cheats himself since God receives us no matter where we’d live if we fulfill His commandments. The place doesn’t save us, nor it condemns us, we are saved or condemned by our own deeds.
Thus, even if we live in the world, my brothers, we shouldn’t despair, even if we have sinned, we have to run to God and repent and be kindhearted and generous with the poor and helpless from our fortunes. For people like these God gave you your fortune and fortune was not born together with anyone of us. That’s why you should give alms voluntarily since it is very beneficial for your soul to give alms with your own hand. And you shouldn’t have witnesses when you give alms. Don’t neglect your close relatives. First you should take care of those from your own house then of the other relatives so that they won’t miss anything and then give alms to the other people. It is hypocrisy to give alms to the poor strangers and leave those from your family to be naked, barefoot and hungry. How do you say that you take care of their souls when you neglect their physical needs? How could you make them have fear of God, when they are distressed because of their physical shortages? Oh, what a great ignorance and what a wicked heart!
Didn’t you hear the Scripture saying: Happy is the one who is merciful with the souls of his servants and doesn’t leave his family live in deprivation.
If you upset your own kinsfolk and you are merciful with the others, God will say to you: You, hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Therefore, hearing these you should show mercy to your own kinsfolk and take care of their food so that you can make God be merciful towards yourself.
Praised be God forever!