- Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons - http://ericsammons.com/blog -
Lenten Suggestions Part 3: Almsgiving
Posted By Eric Sammons On February 12, 2010 @ 9:33 am In Spirituality | Comments Disabled
If fasting gets the most press during Lent, then almsgiving most certainly gets the least. But it is an important component of the triumvirate of pietistic practices that a Catholic should make habitual. In Matthew 25:31-46, our Lord makes it quite clear what will happen to those who do not help the poor. Giving alms to the poor is a required part of the Catholic Faith; it is not just something tacked on to our more “spiritual” practices. In many ways, almsgiving makes our faith incarnational: we are body and soul composites, so we must help both the soul and body of those around us.
How are we to give alms? Our Lord tells us:
(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
Like all our spiritual practices, we must not give alms to win the esteem of men. They must instead be done with a sincere heart that truly wishes to help others.
What are some practical things you can do this Lent in regard to almsgiving?
Find some time to volunteer at your local soup kitchen, crisis pregnancy center or food pantry.
2) Give a painful donation
See how much money you have available for a charitable donation, then double or even triple the amount and give it away. How much we think we can give away is usually nowhere near how much we really can – and God will honor your generous heart.
3) Befriend someone you don’t know at your parish, work or school
We all know the type: there often is someone at our place of business, our school, or at our parish that makes everyone uncomfortable. He (or she) doesn’t follow normal social conventions, so most people stay away from them. Find the time during Lent to approach him and strike up a conversation. He is as much an image of God as anyone else, after all.
4)Take your kids to volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry
Too often we grow up in our comfortable middle-class neighborhoods and never have to directly encounter the poor. This attaches a stigma to them that is hard to overcome later in life. Take your kids to a soup kitchen or food pantry so that they can directly be involved in helping the poor. It will create a lasting image for them of the humanity of the poor.
5) Give something to the panhandler you meet on the street
I realize that many people have legitimate reasons they don’t give to the beggar on the street. However, St. Francis would give to ANYONE who asked of him, no exceptions, because he saw everyone as Christ. If you don’t want to give cash, give him an apple. Have faith that God will work out the details of your generosity.
Also, Aggie Catholics has a great “mega-post ” about Lent which includes some more great suggestions. Check it out!
Whatever you do this Lent, be sure to make it a time that prepares your heart for the resurrection of our Lord and God Jesus Christ.
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/02/12/lenten-suggestions-part-3-almsgiving/
URLs in this post:
 prayer: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/02/10/lenten-suggestions-part-1-prayer/
 fasting: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/02/11/lenten-suggestions-part-2-fasting/
 mega-post: http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2010/02/lent-2010.html
 subscribe to my RSS feed: http://ericsammons.com/blog/feed/
Copyright © 2010 Divine Life - A Blog by Eric Sammons. All rights reserved.