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Let us show one another the Lord's kindness

"Acknowledge whence you have existence, breath, and understanding. Acknowledge whence you have what is most important of all, your knowledge of God, your hope of the kingdom of heaven, your contemplation of glory which in this life is of course through a glass darkly but hereafter will be more perfect and clearer. Acknowledge that you have been made a son of God, a co-heir with

Christ. Acknowledge, and now I speak with daring, that you have been made divine. From where and from whom have all these benefits come to you?

Or, to turn to lesser matters, what you see with your eyes, who gave you the power to gaze on the beauty of the sky, the course of the sun, the circle of the moon, and the multitude of the stars? Who gave you the power to discern the harmony and order that shines out like music in them all?

From whom do you have the rain, agriculture, your food, crafts, dwelling houses, laws and constitutions, civilized life, friendship and intimacy with your relations? To whom do you owe it that some of the animals are tamed and subject to us, and others are given over for our food? Who made you lord and king over everything on earth? Without naming all the individual items, who gave man all the gifts by which he is superior to other living beings?

Surely the answer to all these questions is quite simply God - and God now asks you before all things and in return for all things, to show kindness. When there are so many benefits which we have either received from him or which we hope to receive from him in future, surely we would be ashamed to refuse him this one point in return, namely kindness and love. Although he is our God and our Lord, he is not ashamed to be called our Father, and will we shut ourselves off from those who are related to us?

Brethren and friends, let us by no means be wicked stewards of God's gift to us. If we are, we will have to listen to Saint Peter saying: Be ashamed, you who hold back what belongs to another, take as an example the justice of God, and no one will be poor.

While others suffer poverty, let us not labour to hoard and pile up money, for if we do, holy Amos will threaten us sharply in these words: Hear this, you who say; Where will the new moon be over, that we may sell; and the sabbath, that we may open up our treasures?.

Let us imitate the first and most important law of God who sends his rain on the just and on sinners and makes the sun shine on all men equally. God opens up the earth, the springs, the streams and the woods to all who live in the world. He gives the air to the birds, the water to the fish, and the basic needs of life abundantly to all, without restriction or limitation or preference. These basic goods are common to all, provided by God generously and with nothing lacking. He has done this so that creatures of the same nature may receive equal gifts and that he may show us how rich is his kindness."

A reading from the addresses of St Gregory Nazianzen

Prepared by Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas