Virtue is like a thirst. When a man begins to drink of it, he becomes more thirsty and seeks to drink of it
all the more. He who begins to exercise the virtue of compassion knows no measure and acknowledges
no limit. St. Philaret was no less generous when he was impoverished than when he was wealthy.
When his granddaughter became empress, he became a rich man once again, but no less generous.
One day, he told his wife and children to prepare the best feast that they could and said: “Let us invite
our King and Lord, with all His noblemen, to come to the feast.” Everyone thought that the old man was
thinking of inviting to dinner his son-in-law, the emperor, and they all worked as hard as they could and
prepared the feast. Meanwhile, Philaret went around the streets and gathered all the needy, the
beggars, the blind, the outcasts, the lame and the infirm, and brought them to the feast. Placing them at
the table, he ordered his wife and sons to serve at the table. After the feast was completed, he put a
gold coin in the hand of each guest and dismissed them. Then everyone understood that by “the King”
he meant the Lord Christ Himself, and by “the noblemen” he meant beggars and those in need. He
also said that one need not look at the money that one gives to beggars, but rather one should mix up
the money in one’s pocket and give only what the hand removes from the pocket. The hand will draw
out whatever God’s providence ordains.

The Prologue of Ochrid

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