Almsgiving is traditionally a way to do something extra during the Lenten season. It can take the form of giving money to a charity, but it can also involve performing any kind of kind or charitable act. Below St Leo the Great shares some insights into the virtue of almsgiving or charity
“Any time is the right time for works of charity, but these days of Lent provide a special encouragement. Those who want to be present at the Lord’s Passover in holiness of mind and body should seek above all to win this grace, for charity contains all other virtues and covers a multitude of sins.
As we prepare to celebrate that greatest of all mysteries, by which the blood of Jesus Christ did away with our sins, let us first of all make ready the sacrificial offerings of works of mercy. In this way we shall give to those who have sinned against us what God in his goodness has already given to us.
Let us now extend to the poor and those afflicted in different ways a more open-handed generosity, so that God may be thanked through many voices and the relief of the needy supported by our fasting. No act of devotion on the part of the faithful gives God more pleasure than that which is lavished on the poor. Where he finds charity with its loving concern, there he recognizes the reflection of his own fatherly care.
In these acts of giving do not fear a lack of means. A generous spirit is itself great wealth. There can be no shortage of material for generosity where it is Christ who feeds and Christ who is fed. In all of this activity there is present the hand of him who multiplies the bread by breaking it, and increases it by giving it away.
The giver of alms should be free from anxiety and full of joy. His gain will be greatest when he keeps back least for himself. The holy apostle Paul tells us :”He who provides seed for the sower will also provide bread for eating; he will provide you with more seed, and will increase the harvest of your goodness”, in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever . Amen.”