Jacques Maritain Center
Desert Answers


How all we give, we give to God, and not to men.

Melania relates that she brought three hundred pounds of silver to the abbot Pambo, and asked him to accept the gift for the use of the monks who were in need. He said to her, "May God give you your reward." Then, turning to his servant Theodore, he said, "Take this money and distribute it among the brethren who dwell in Libya and in the islands, for the monasteries there are very poor." Melania, in the meanwhile, stood waiting for his benediction, and expected that he would speak some word of praise to her for the greatness of her gift. At length, when he remained silent, she said, "Master, do you know how much I have given? There are three hundred pounds of silver." But Pambo took no notice of her, and did not even glance at the boxes of money. At length he replied, "He to whom you make this gift, my daughter, does not need that you should tell Him how much it is. If you were giving this money to me, you would be right to tell me the sum of it. Since, however, you are giving this money to God, who did not despise even the two mites, but valued them above all other gifts, you may well be silent about the amount of it."

-- Wisdom of the Desert


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