St. Nikolai on internal cleanliness and alms-giving

St Nikolai External cleanliness becomes a man. But that is a lesser cleanliness.
Internal cleanliness is incomparably more important than external
cleanliness. That is greater cleanliness. A dish can serve more
usefully only if it is washed and clean on the inside even though
the outside is dark and ashy. If a glass is dirty on the inside, its
external cleanliness will never attract anyone to drink from it. If
a bowl is dark and ashy on the outside who will dare to eat from it?
There are many more teachers in the world and many examples of
external rather than internal cleanliness. For it is easier to teach
and show by example external cleanliness rather than internal
cleanliness.

Behold brethren, how the Teacher and Model of great cleanliness, places
this great cleanliness on the dependence of internal alms-giving.
Alms-giving, which is performed from the heart, purifies the soul of
man. Alms-giving, which is performed from the heart, cleanses the
heart of man. Alms-giving, which is performed from the soul,
cleanses a man’s soul. Alms-giving, which is performed from his
entire mind, cleanses the mind of a man. In a word, internal
alms-giving cleanses the entire man. If alms-giving is only from a
hand, it does not cleanse the hand much less the heart, soul and
mind. Alms-giving from the hand is indispensable but it cleanses the
giver only then, when the heart moves the hand to alms-giving.
Besides alms-giving from the hand, there exist other types of
alms-giving. Prayer for people is internal alms-giving and,
likewise, sorrow for human pains, and joy in the joy of others. That
is alms-giving, which proceeds from the heart and creates
cleanliness in the heart, the soul and the mind.
O, All-Pure Lord, help us that, with true alms-giving we acquire great
cleanliness.

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About mychristmycare

Guiding the Stewardship Committee, as part of the National Standing Committees of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.
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