Lenten Almsgiving

Catholics are expected to give alms throughout the year but are asked to focus more intently on almsgiving during Lent as one of the three pillars of Lenten practice along with prayer and fasting.

Almsgiving is the practice of donating money or food, or doing other acts of charity for those who are less fortunate.

The external act of giving alms should be accompanied by the proper intention. Almsgiving is a work of mercy when it is done out of love for God and with respect for the dignity of others.

Alms should never be given because of arrogance or guilt but should be practiced with a spirit of thanksgiving and an understanding that everything is a gift from God.

Almsgivng involves some type of sacrifice on the part of the giver in order to provide for the needs of the other. Alms should not come from a surplus but should bring about a change or adjustment in spending habits.

Jesus was charitable:

Putting love into action:

“[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

Part of a Christian lifestyle:

Christians are called to give alms:

A type of sacrifice:

Almsgiving, according to the Gospel, is not mere philanthropy: rather it is a concrete expression of charity, a theological virtue that demands interior conversion to love of God and neighbor, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who, dying on the cross, gave His entire self for us. How could we not thank God for the many people who silently, far from the gaze of the media world, fulfill, with this spirit, generous actions in support of one’s neighbor in difficulty? There is little use in giving one’s personal goods to others if it leads to a heart puffed up in vainglory: for this reason, the one, who knows that God “sees in secret” and in secret will reward, does not seek human recognition for works of mercy.

Pope Benedict XVI, Message for Lent, 2008

Going outside ourselves to serve others:

Imitating God in a special way:

Giving alms to the poor is a witness to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2462

Encountering Christ in the poor:

Giving to those who are most in need:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Brothers and sisters in a very real sense:

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