Leo the Great: Scatter what you may gather

“Be steadfast, Christian giver. Give what you may receive, sow what you may reap, scatter what you may gather. Fear not to spend, sigh not over the doubtfulness of the gain. Your substance grows when it is wisely dispensed. Set your heart on the profits due to mercy, and traffic in eternal gains. Your Recompenser wishes you to be munificent, and He who gives that you may have, commands you to spend, saying, “Give, and it shall be given to you.”

You must thankfully embrace the conditions of this promise. For although you have nothing that you did not receive, yet you cannot fail to have what you give. He therefore that loves money, and wishes to multiply his wealth by immoderate profits, should rather practice this holy usury and grow rich by such money-lending, in order not to catch men hampered with difficulties, and by treacherous assistance entangle them in debts which they can never pay, but to be His creditor and His money-lender, who says, “Give, and it shall be given to you,” and “with what measure ye measure, it shall be measured again to you [Luke 6:38].”

But he is unfaithful and unfair even to himself, who does not wish to have forever what he esteems desirable. Let him amass what he may, let him hoard and store what he may, he will leave this world empty and needy, as David the prophet says, “for when he dieth he shall take nothing away, nor shall his glory descend with him (Psalm 49:17).”

Whereas if he were considerate of his own soul, he would trust his good to Him, who is both the proper surety for the poor and the generous Repayer of loans. But unrighteous and shameless avarice, which promises to do some kind act but eludes it, trusts not God, whose promises never fail, and trusts man, who makes such hasty bargains; and while he reckons the present more certain than the future, often deservedly finds that his greed for unjust gain is the cause of by no means unjust loss.”
Leo the Great (c. 400-461) pope and doctor of the church, in Sermon XVII. “On the Fast of the Tenth Month, VI.”

Leo inspired me today and I pray his wise words encourage you to “scatter what you may gather.” Why? Leo sums it up best: “For although you have nothing that you did not receive, yet you cannot fail to have what you give.”

“Give, and it shall be given to you!” The question for each of us remains: Will we “embrace the conditions of this promise” from our Lord?

Share this Post