During Lent, we are asked to focus more closely on almsgiving. Almsgiving can take many forms, but here, let’s think about straightforward monetary donations. Throughout history, many Christians have used the Old Testament practice of “tithing” as a guide — that is, they give a tenth of their income to God. But, isn’t that “just writing a check”? Shouldn’t we, as followers of St. Vincent, be out there on the front lines, doing home visits, doing works of mercy, and promoting justice and systemic change? Yes! But there’s no need to throw away the simple practice of giving money or food. Read and ponder what Frederic Ozanam had to say, in the presentation below. (To enlarge the presentation to full screen for easier reading, click on the double arrows at the bottom right.)
Deciding how much you want to give, and what proportion you want to go to certain causes or individuals, can be challenging and needs prayerful consideration. Be inspired by the words of Pope Francis during an Ash Wednesday Mass two years ago:
Gratuity should be one of the characteristics of a Christian, who, aware of having received everything from God freely, that is without any merit, learns to give to others freely… Almsgiving helps us to live the gratuitousness of the gift, which is freedom from the obsession with possessing things, [freedom from] the fear of losing what one has, [freedom from] the sadness of those who do not want to share their well-being with others.