Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390), Bishop and Doctor of the Church
On love of the poor, 4-6; PG 35, 863

“You taught your people by these deeds that those who are just must be kind” (Wis 12:19)

The first and the greatest of the commandments, that on which the Law and the prophets are based (Mt 22,40), is love, which it seems to me brings its greatest proof in love of the poor, in tenderness and compassion for one’s neighbor.

Nothing gives as much honor to God as mercy, for nothing is more like him. “Mercy and truth go before him,” (Ps 88[89],15) and he prefers mercy to judgment (Hos 6,6).

Nothing attracts the kindness of the Friend of humankind as much as kindness towards humankind (Wis 1:6); his reward is just, he weighs and measures mercy.

We must open our hearts to all who are poor and unhappy, whatever their suffering might be.

That is the meaning of the commandment which requires us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12,15)

Since we are also human, is it not right and proper for us to be kind towards those who are like us?


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