Lent Day 8 – Give to Everyone Who Asks

by Fr. Robert Barron


Why do we give alms? Because when we share gifts or charity with those in need, we’re acknowledging the fact that we’re not in this alone, that the things that we own are meant for others. Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that we have the right to private ownership, but not the right to private use. The use of private property must be for the sake of the common good.

How do we signal that public use? We give alms. Lent is the perfect time to survey our material possessions, which often results in realizing we have too many, and then give some away.

There are many practical ways to do it. For example, during Lent, whenever you get a letter in the mail from some reputable organization asking for money, give them something. Now I know you’re probably on every mailing list in the entire world, and maybe you only give $1 or $5 to each request. But decide that over the next six weeks, whenever a respected person or group asks you for money, you give them something. This is a tangible way to follow Jesus’ command from the Gospel of Matthew: “Give to everyone who asks you” (Mt 5:42).

Here’s a similar idea: whenever you see a homeless person or beggar asking for help, give them something. Don’t ask questions, don’t weigh the pros and cons, just give them something. It doesn’t have to be money, in case you’re worried about enabling an addiction—you could give them gift cards, bottles of water, or bus tickets. But give them something.

One final suggestion: this Lent, whenever you buy something—whether a big purchase like a car or television, or a smaller purchase at a restaurant—choose the option you like best and can afford, and then buy the next cheapest alternative. Take the difference and give it to the poor.

Commit yourself to these simple but challenging choices, and you’ll discover concrete ways to give alms throughout Lent.

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  • Caroline

    We have the right to private ownership, but not the right to private use. The use of private property must be for the sake of the common good. This is an eye opener for me and a great lesson for today. Lord, teach me to open my heart to see and help the needs of the poor, hungry, homeless, hopeless, and lost brethren because through them we can see You, our Loving Savior Jesus Christ.

  • Jeanette Lawrence Ghioto

    Oh dear Lord. I pray that every person who received my appeal for alms on behalf of the good Sisters of St Joseph of St Augustine would respond. Even the widows mite will help this genuine consecrated holy women of God continue their many missions in response to Gods second commandment to love their neighbors. My prayer is Ephesians 3:14-21 bless them Lord beyond their wildest dreams.

  • Loren

    Even the poorest of the poor have “Something” to give and what they give are the richest of all- their time, space, and talents. On personal and general Judgement Day, we cannot answer God that we do not have the resources to give. Of course, we do not have the resources and that is why God gave them to us- the gift of ourselves. When we can give like that, we have truly imitated the Master who gave of Himself in order to gain back the creation that He himself has created. Give give until the good Lord stops giving…

  • OrdainedPraise

    I was introduced to a very good charity recently: Covenant House. I want to give something to them but the hubby does the finances and says we can not afford to spend much. I call it the ‘Ricky Ricardo syndrome’ where Lucy is always getting into trouble. Later, I will ask him if I could give something to this charity. On their site they even have an option where you can choose to provide the money for a specific item…so it seems that you know exactly where this money is going. (Check it out) I once helped deliver food to poor people and upon my arrival, they were tremendously over weight. So I do end up weighing pros and cons. I would love to help a poor family who was in need, but I don’t see any around here…which should be a good thing. In the Church bulletin this week, it looks like there may be some opportunities to help young children in an after school program and some of the elderly in need of care. This is the type of service I prefer rather than just giving money. I will call them later today.

  • Claire

    This reminds me of the prayer of St. Francis where he said “in giving that we receive” which is absolutely true. In life we may not have so much..but even in our nothingness we could always have something to share with anyone.

    I recall one spiritual director who once shared with us in one retreat that what he usually does when he likes to give away some of his excess clothes..he would open his closet…and with eyes closed he will start picking up the things he will give up.

    In giving we feel more joy when we have given something we really value or caused us some sacrifice…though sometimes we feel sad if our good act is not reciprocated. But as Fr. Barron we need to “commit ourselves to these simple…. but challenging choices”.

    Lent is really a challenging moment for self-denial….and only in forgetting oneself……we learn the true meaning of being a follower of Christ…

  • Pat Howai

    I’ll give the homeless man I see everyday on my way to work something to eat.

  • LansingECJ

    One of the groups I support through alms giving is Food for the Poor. One of my reasons is based on the fact that they help people get out of poverty. For example, they have people make beautiful Christmas cards. I believe that we need to do more to work with the poor to help them break the cycle of poverty. About a year ago I read a book, Walk Out Walk On by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze. It describes people who are making a better world in creative ways using what we normally waste. I believe it is a way of addressing why so many people are living in poverty. Therefore, it seems to me that there is much more to alms giving than simply cleaning out our closets and giving money to those who are less fortunate.

    • Sharon Caeti Younes

      Yes, definitely! It seems there’s 2 sides to the coin: giving what you can in money, and giving your time in concrete ways. I believe that’s stewardship. That’s what so many Christian churches do today: take mission trips to help the poor.

  • BHG

    Giving to the homeless is always a mental trial for me, for exactly the reasons you mention–fear of enabling addiction, fear of being scammed. I finally decided, with C.S. Lewis that I’d rather be a fool for Christ than a curmudgeon. Keeping $5 cards for the local sandwich shop is a good way for me to go. I’ll work on giving of my time in a listening ear. That’s harder.

  • Becky

    I too find myself weighing out the pros and cons when I see someone on the side of the road. Just last week there was a couple on the side of the parking lot at walmart I had decided to give to them by the time I drove to them the police were there and made them leave the area. It made me sad so all I could do at that point was say Lord help them and protect them.
    As Jesus said whatever you do to the least of my people you do to me! Brings to mind Mother Teresa she didn’t ask questions she picked them up and cared for them.
    Lord help me to give more to those in need. What a great sacrifice to recieve blessings this Lenten season and put into our hearts the gift of charity!
    God Bless

  • Sharon Caeti Younes

    What a challenge giving alms is for me. Help me, Lord, to do your will.

  • Bella

    Being on the receiving end of Lenten appeals I believe there is a very important interpersonal aspect of alms giving as well. My most valued donors are not usually the largest ones, but rather those folks who remember us each month and send $5 or $10. This helps us here in the mission field remember that we aren’t in this alone. Consider a little note with your next donation to a non-profit organization, a few words can go a long way for a missionary reaching burnout!

    • Patti Raithel

      Bella , I never thought of sending the note. And your right about the donors, when I do the Tootsie Rolls for Knights of Columbus in our area it always shocks me who gives. Usually the person who you know has very little that takes the time to stop and give . Every little bit helps.

  • Josephine Stow

    Thank you for these challenging words. I know I need to change my attitude to giving away money. This Lent is an opportunity to practise & establish good habits. Let the adventure begin!

  • rtclovesmac

    Use my talents for others could be another take on St Augustine’s reference. But what I liked was the concrete suggestions for doing more. Made me think…now to action!

  • Germain

    Believe Cardinal George says it best. “The poor need the rich to survive; the rich need the poor to get to heaven.”

    • Donna

      Well said Germain!

      • Ignacio

        I heard Cardinal Dolan saying something similar with more gusto at a fund raising event while commenting on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus: ‘The poor need the rich to get out of poverty; we the rich need the poor to get out of hell’.

        • Donna

          Cardinal Dolan does say things with much gusto. One of my favorites.

    • Carla Archuleta

      That is truly an amen!

  • Elizabeth

    Did you ever give thought that when you donate to the Diocesan Annual Appeal in your churches you are actually giving to those you meet on the street? My involvement with an ecumenical group has made me realize how many people in our local area are truly having their needs met through our time and energy as well as our monetary contributions from our local churches.

    It is good to be in contact with other Christians of other denominations. We have a Dorothy Day Center nearby. A woman from another denomination was highly involved in the Center. (Annie now resides in eternal glory.) When an ecumenical group I belong to wanted to donate to the Dorothy Day Center she let it be known our donation would be better put to use through the Catholic Charities Morning Glory program. The reason – Lunch is the first meal of the day at the Dorothy Day Center. Breakfast is provided through the Morning Glory Program. Working together and helping together.

    Giving of time and energy is another way of donating to those less fortunate. We can learn from others how to be more effective in helping those less fortunate.

    It amazes me what other churches do to help out at the Dorothy Day Center. Members of the denominational churches in our area put aside time once a month to make sandwiches for the Dorothy Day Center. It is a coordinated effort through the churches whereby food is available everyday.

    Through my ecumenical involvement I have become more appreciative of our diocesan annual appeal. Now I donate happily since recognizing those in our Catholic family give of their time and energy. I contribute to allow our Catholic Church members to successfully help those in need locally.
    Through my ecumenical involvement I have also learned Catholic Relief Services and Church World Services work side by side in helping others in need outside the USA.

  • Ann Basile

    Ouch. I needed this. I pray these words will help change my habits. Just yesterday my husband and I bought a small kitchen appliance … the more expensive model. TODAY I’ll give the difference to Missionaries of the Poor.

    • Ann Basile

      I know I didn’t do this exactly right, choosing the lesser model for myself, but it’s been opened and used. I’ll do it this way for today and then THINK before my next purchase.

      • Peggy Watson

        The end result shows your heart and that is what God sees. You are willing to give.

  • Joseph

    What so ever you did to the least one of my brothers, YOU DID IT TO ME .

    Thank you Father Robert .

    • Teddy Behr

      I have heard this before, but it’s a nice reminder. THank you for this.

      • Joseph

        You’re very welcome. Please share it with others . God Bless

  • Anton D

    ” Why do we give alms? Because when we share gifts or charity with those in need, we’re acknowledging the fact that we’re not in this alone, that the things that we own are meant for others. ”

    ” Don’t ask questions, don’t weigh the pros and cons, just give them something. ”

    I keep change with me especially for such occasions. BUT many times I’ve not given anything to people I meet who ask, because I don’t want to appear as being duped.
    May be its an ego issue with me. I do give sometimes and now will include others also on my so called list.

  • Joseph

    When we give from our hearts , the act of love is done . I hope that whomever receives the alms has the same love in their hearts as well . Pray for them .

  • Joseph
  • Joseph

    Please take a few moments to watch the video . It’s very touching and teaches us a great lesson . Thank you all

    • Donna

      Joseph, what an awesome video! I love Mother Theresa, she gave us all so much hope and love. God Bless.

      • Joseph

        I’m so glad you liked it . Please share it with others . May God Bless you always

  • Patricia

    When we think of giving alms, we think of money or things such as mentioned in today’s discourse. I have found in my own family, that the need is presented quite clearly, if I trust and hope to do God’s will when it comes to the use of my possessions and my time. Time spent with a loved one, could cost the price of a ticket or a tank of gasoline. I wonder if this kind of alms is a valid and reliable way to give? Any thoughts? Time is what we have so little of and must spend wisely.

  • Albert Jenkins

    “The best things in life are free.” Most, if not all, have heard this saying and it is one of the truest things I have ever heard. Money, the root of all evil. It is the reason this world is in such turmoil and if we didn’t cherish it as much as we do we would all be in a better place in life. Giving comes from the heart, you have to want to give and if that “want” isn’t there, the giving is in vain.

    Love . . . is free, so love your neighbor (as yourself); love the less fortunate; love the hateful driver who shows road rage; love the crooked politicians and ask God to help them do the right things; love the people with different colored skin, on the inside (and to the blind) we all look the same anyway. The more love you give away, the more you get back.

    Blood . . . free and replenishable, but have you ever given a pint without being asked? Yet without those who give, so many would die. Jesus shed His for us, yet some of us haven’t even given 1 pint.

    Time . . . doesn’t cost a dime so why not give up a football game on television or a movie or shopping or an hour of sleep to go to Mass during the week or spend time with Jesus in Adoration.

    Kindness . . . can’t be found on a shelf in a store but people horde this the most. So, stop demanding things, open a door for everyone you can. Don’t walk by someone without sharing a smile (which is also free) with everyone you see and say “God Bless” to them.

    Prayers . . . are free and the most powerful thing we possess and the most forgotten, so pray for those who can’t pray for themselves, for those who don’t know God. Praying for our loved ones is easy, try praying for your enemies and your rewards will be greater.

    . . . an the list goes on and on, surely you can think of more.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      I want to second the gift of blood. Last year when I was in the hospital I received two blood transfusions. Yesterday at Bible Study we were discussing the Eucharist. At the Eucharist we share the body and blood of Christ thus we become his brothers and sisters. I shared someone’s blood now they are my brother or sister. I do not know who that person is. So now reguard everyone. I meet as my brother or sister.

    • Delia Estrada

      Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom…. God Bless you…

  • Peggy Watson

    This is such a great reminder that there are such simple things I can do that are alms. Sometimes I make it too complicated or try to make it too”big” and then I get stopped. Also to look in my closet and share the best rather than the castoffs I have already collected.

  • Stephanie B

    I am inspired by this reflection today. I am thinking of getting gift cards in small denominations to give to the people begging. Also, taking many items we do not use or need to St. Vincent de Paul.

    • Donna

      I am thinking the same thing for my husband. He works in the city and is dodging homeless all the time. He gives them cash at times, however, it is also dangerous to pull out cash on the streets in Philly.What a great idea! Thank you Stephanie!

  • Dan Ritchie

    For Lent I make it a point to buy breakfast every morning for a homeless person, there is no shortage of unfortunate persons in my patrol area. It used to shock them that the police were passing out coffee and egg McMuffins but now they know me. I am always greeted with a grateful God Bless you.

    • Rafael

      Thanks for your service Dan. God Bless.

  • http://www.innstonycreek.com Joe Campone

    Thank you Father for these words of enlightenment. I am one to always look for the biggest and brightest. I won’t do that anymore. Now when I get the countless number of requests for donations, I will try to give a little something to everyone who asks. And I will definitely increase my almsgiving on Sunday.

    • Mel

      Wow Joe, thanks for this encouragement for us too. God Bless

      • http://www.innstonycreek.com Joe Campone

        You’re welcome Mel. I am really using this Lent to turn my life around. God Bless You also.

        • Mel

          I shall pray for you and please pray for me to spend more time with Jesus and also resist in eating which I love, trying to fast. God Bless

  • Brenda Zolli

    I grew up quite poor with four siblings. We almost always wore hand me downs bought at thrift shops etc I never had any nice clothes, because people did not donate nice clothes. Often the clothes were downtight ugly !
    If I donate used clothing I try and look at what I am giving away with critical eyes. If it is too worn I don’t pass it on. If I wouldn’t wear the item, why do I suppose a poor person might want to?
    I like Father’s suggestion of just giving something to each charity. But…..there are so many and once you put in a few dollars, you get a new request almost immediately! Sometimes I resent the slick packages that contain junk. Yesterday one came with notepads, birthday cards, stickers etc etc. it must take a certain amount of money from what you give.
    If I use an unsolicited Mass card or birthday card, i do try and send them some money in the mail when I mail the card.
    I find it harder to be charitable than some people i know, maybe because I was so poor as a child.
    I ask God the Lent to give me a more caring heart and think before I buy.

  • Maryanne Doran Heath

    For many years, I have struggled with what to do regarding people begging. Like others, I’ve always thought that they’d just spend the money on drugs or alcohol and that would be of no help at all. I travel to one of, if not THE, poorest cities in the country, Camden, NJ, nearly every day and often see these people on the side of the road. Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should do something. After all, God is the ultimate judge of these people, not me. If people are scamming, He will take care of it. I, too, have considered the gift card idea. Simply carrying a sandwich or crackers and water might be of help in these situations.

    • Mel

      You are so right dear Maryanne. Thanks for sharing. God Bless

  • T Krempski

    Dan, that is a wonderful thing that you do. Protect and serve.

  • Sharon

    If I have the cash on hand I always give to those sitting on the corner asking for assistance. When I do give, I always ask them to do “good” with it. Recently my husband and I were in New Orleans enjoying Bourbon Street. There were people asking for money on every corner. Me being the soft hearted person I am, gave most of the cash I had to them. Of course I questioned their motives, but deep in my heart I knew my act was in God’s favor. I find myself giving all the time now and it really does feel rewarding. I am also purging my house and give all my extra clothes and other goodies to the local Share the Ware business. It is a shop opened up by a business who serve individuals with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, chronic mental illness and brain injury. God is good :)

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Also buying from these organizations helps the poor. I purchase all my casual clothing from these stores. I try to buy the items that I think are least likely to sell.

      • Sharon

        I need to do that too. There is another place in my town that sells gently used clothes. Not sure where the $ goes but I don’t need $100 jeans…it’s just ridiculous.

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          Some “gently used clothes” are consignment and some are actually for profit. But you can donate the difference to charity. I ran into some trouble when I was supporting an organization that I thought was doing a great job of helping troubled teens. I later found out that the help they were providing was abortion counseling in close partnership with Planned Parenthood. Now it stick strictly to Vinnie’s Boutique (St Vincent’s)

          • Carla Archuleta

            Good idea!

    • Mel

      Thanks Sharon for this because I was having a debate with my husband saying that we should do this. I was a bit awe as to how to give to so many people and you have really taught me something. I must have that courage. I must also thank Fr Barron for encouraging us to do what he has written. Thank you Fr Barron.

  • MS

    Due to concerns as to how cash might be spent, a few years ago I began to give a gift card to “fast food” establishments to the homeless . Within the past year, I have been placing the gift card, plastic rosary beads, and a basic pamphlet on how to say the rosary in a Ziploc bag, and been giving that to homeless individuals. I tell the person what is in the Ziploc, and that I will be praying for them. To date, the response to the Ziploc contents has been positive, and sometimes effusive. I try to remember that I am acting as the hands and feet of Jesus.

    • Sharon

      Wow, that’s such a great idea MS!!! That’s what I need to start doing. Getting gift cards to the restaurants and adding some spirituality to the mix. Thanks for the idea and keep up the great work :)

    • Nataline Maluchnik

      What a wonderful ministry. Our parish has a “pray it forward” ministry. Pray on a plastic rosary, place it in a ziplock with how to pray the rosary, then pass it on to another person who will do the same.

    • Michael Lee Cornwell

      MS,
      A beautiful idea an gesture. Know that the Blessed Mother is moved by your love for the “forgotten souls of the streets”.

      Amen,

      The Prayer Warrior

    • Mel

      Fantastic, I must try this too.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    I am giving time to political action. I am supporting some candidates who are honest upright prolife individuals. in the upcoming mid=term elections. I am also spending time writing to my elected officials reguarding moral issues.

  • Marybeth Davis

    My son chose alcohol over recovery. He lives on the streets. He sold everything we have given him (clothing, prayer books, etc) for alcohol over and over. He was beaten up for things we gave him (blankets, backpacks etc). All other items were stolen from him. In our area meals are provided in numerous churches and also food is given out on the street by volunteers. My son told me “there is enough food out there”. The only thing I would ever give a homeless person is a printed location for them to get help or possibly some water, but mostly I would hand them a piece of paper with a prayer on it and then give them my prayers. They need food for their souls and encouragement, someone to listen and to love them. The people who know how to work with them are out there and they should be directed to the ones that have knowledge and experience to do the best thing for them. If they are addicted there are free 12 step meetings (with warmth and free coffee) everywhere all day. If they are poor the churches have plenty of programs for them. Anything given to an addict on the street can impede their recovery.

    • Nataline Maluchnik

      This is very wise info from someone who is in the position to directly speak on the subject. Thank you for the insight. I will pray for your son & family. God bless you & give you peace.

      • Marybeth Davis

        Thank you! Also after I posted my comment I wanted to add, it is a good thing to volunteer regularly for services to the homeless that are organized, to attend open AA meetings, learn about the poor, the addicted, the mentally ill. Work to get more organized help and better Mental Health etc in your own community.

        • Nataline Maluchnik

          I didn’t know about open AA meetings. I have been doing some services through our parish & have been thinking through a Rosary ministry for those who beg on street corners. You have ven me inspiration & much to think about. Thank you.

    • Michael Lee Cornwell

      Marybeth,
      Know that your son and his direction to those who can best help him are in my prayers. I shall call upon the Holy Angels to guide him to a safe haven.

      Trust that the Lord has heard your prayers for help for him. May he become a light to others who re lost and confused.

      The Prayer Warrior

      • Marybeth Davis

        Thank you Michael. He is a tormented soul and in clear moments he is so good. His name is Shawn

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          I will pray for Shawn in my Novena in Honor of St. Joseph.

          • Marybeth Davis

            Thank You!!!!

        • Michael Lee Cornwell

          You are welcome. I am blessed when the Lord gives me someone to pray for who is in need.. I truly believe the Lord sends all of us certain persons to pray for. We may never meet them, may never
          know their names or where they are from and in truth we only need to trust the Wisdom of Our Lord.
          In all humility, I have learned that the Lord heal body’s of persons who lived 40 miles away. It was their mother who told me.
          I always try to pray with no intention of seeking thanks, yet many times I get a response.

          Know and trust the timing of the Lords answer.
          Thank you again and my prayers are with you to give you support.

          The Prayer warrior

    • Ann Ryan

      Surely you know that alcoholism is a disease and your son needs medical care. My brother works with addicts and he says even when they know they want to recover, their brains still seek out their artificial comforts. I cannot i magine what it must be like to have one’s body craving harmful things. Mine craves chocolate

  • vsm

    You know those holy cards/medals/key chains, etc., that religious orders send out in response to donations? They usually come in clear plastic envelopes. Instead of letting them pile up (we should not throw them out, as many are blest), slip a dollar or two inside the envelope and keep them in your purse/backpack to hand out to the homeless — along with a “God bless you” and a smile. It’s the best kind of “recycling” I can think of!

  • Brother Jo

    Hi Father Baron! Liked much what you said about the Jesus Prayer on Day 6. A Book of the origin and the Jesus Prayer has been written by John Michael Talbot- The Jesus Prayer A Cry for Mercy, A Faith of Renewal. There are “Jesus Beads” which accompany it which have helped to focus meditate and contemplate. REALLY enjoy the site. BroJo.

  • Nathan DeParis

    I really like the idea about buying the one step down product and giving the difference to the poor. It is such a common sense thing that it can get overlooked so easily. Especially as it relates to our electronics. Don’t get the latest and greatest android phone see which one it is and the one that is the next cheapest one. Have to remember that. It is hard as a student because money is at most tight if not non-existent. So there is a feeling of having it not count. But I know it does.

  • Teddy Behr

    Giving should be a way of life for all Christians.

    • Donna

      No question about it Teddy. If we have God in our hearts, it comes naturally.

  • Krista

    We need to just learn to detach ourselves from ‘things’. I’ve moved enough times that I’ve come to this detachment naturally–it’s a pain to pack and move so much stuff and it’s just that….stuff. So I started to just hold on to the ‘fire things’–meaning: what you would take with you if you could only grab things quickly and get out if there were a fire in your home. It puts things into perspective and even more so when you have little means as I do to replace items that would be ruined in a fire. But even from the things that I would save–maybe about enough to fit in a plastic tote box–if someone needed something I could part with it knowing that their need is greater than mine. It’s this detachment that saved me from being consumed with anger when our bicycles were stolen from our carport even though they were locked up. It disappointed me that the people chose to steal from me, but I figure that it’s just stuff and I was able to forgive them and even pray for their conversion. I pray that everyone could be able to achieve better detachment from stuff so that we possess the ‘stuff’ and it doesn’t own us.

    • Sharon Caeti Younes

      That is what I need to pray for…….detachment from stuff. I don’t consider myself very materialistic, but then, I have a hard time letting go of things that I like.

    • Mel

      Thanks for sharing and I must try that. God Bless

  • Michael Lee Cornwell

    Know that the Lord is deeply moved by the spirit of unselfish souls who give out of love and not out of excess in a world where “selfishness seems to be the norm”.
    Blessed be the Name of the Lord”.

    May the Lord of all continue to bless you and your loved ones.

    The Prayer Warrior

  • Ann Nonimous

    I must love the poor and remember to see them. I have seen the poor in the city and many people have tricked themselves into not seeing them. These people are literally invisible to many people. I’ve asked many people that drive the same way as I do and they don’t even notice despite the fact that the same people are there every day. I wonder if I as a private citizen can go there with a notebook and a phone and get them signed up for some services from the state. I could use my address as their mailing and write homeless on the application. I think I will do that. Many destitute people aren’t aware that Minnesota spends a fortune on social programs, but without a computer or phone they cannot apply. Worse yet, there are no public phones anymore. This lent I will find one of these people and get them through the paperwork and help them get inside and fed. It hurts me to see people suffer like that. Even conservatives like myself (despite what the other side thinks) do not want that for anyone. All good people want people to be helped. Sorry, I’m rambling but I see a lot of poverty and I wish for all the poor to be empowered enough to help themselves, the people I have talked to sound so defeated that they are no longer caring about themselves.
    I count my blessings every day. Even simple things we take for granted are a treasure. What is the value of eyes that see? Or hands that work, or legs that walk and run? How much is a loving family worth. Every one of us has a small fortune even if we had no money we all own something another person would pay a fortune to have. Truly our God is a loving god.
    I still want to point out that for lent I have given up on keeping silent about corruption in the church, my bishop is now accused of fondling a boy at confirmation. The frontline documentary shows this is a well-known, accepted culture within our church. In fact, the biggest offenders are in administrative positions where they can and do harm at will and in quantity. As Catholics we must save our church from being destroyed by Apostates and the Criminally-Insane. I would suggest that all Churches cut ties with Rome and continue God’s work away from the malignancy of Rome. I cannot in good conscience associate with an order that is constantly engaging in money-laundering for drug cartels. Nor can I fund institutionalized ritual molestation of seminary students, nor can I accept priests that are active, promiscuous homosexuals. Many people take those oaths of celibacy seriously and do so as a means of not sinning against god. That is a noble thing and I am proud of the men and women that do so to obey god. I bear no ill will against homosexuals in the church, it’s the act that is wrong not the person.
    No more organized crime money, no more hurting children, no more gay orgies. Rome must be held accountable by all the other parishes of the world. We must speak truth to power and stop this open rebellion against god. Jesus would be turning over tables and shouting right about now.
    Give God your apathy this Lent, let the holy spirit guide you and demand that the church be made holy again. Demand that our church should not be a cross to bear as we wade through the grief of being guided by spiritually sick people. We shouldn’t have to keep our Catholicism a secret from people because of what they will think of us. Catholics should not have to be associated with what is being done by a cabal of perverts and criminals.
    To quote Benedict, “we must remove the filth.”

    • Jim

      ” I would suggest that all Churches cut ties with Rome and continue God’s work away from the malignancy of Rome” I hope you are not serious about that suggestion. While I agree with your concerns and outrage, it is not a solution to walk away from the only source of resolution. Where are you going to go to worship your God before the Holy Eucharist – His greatest gift to us? Where are you going to go to have your sins absolved? Giving up all that the Church offers is no solution to the sins of mankind which exist not only in the Church

    • Ann Ryan

      Have you read anything about the new Pope? Pope Frances/?? Give him a chance. He genuinely appears to truly care for the poor, he is not judgmental and sees a future for the Roman Catholic church. We have a new pastor, and many in my parish do not like him at all. So over 100 people have left and gone to another parish. Now that he has been with us for over a year, he is becoming much more friendly and is feeling a part of our parish rather than a stranger trying to fill very big shoes.

  • alyce arends

    Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me. He gave us so much, can’t we give back if not monetarily, what about ourselves. There are many places who need a body, soup kitchens, ministries in church, pads, etc.. Both are needed, for our sake. Jesus I love you

  • Joseph

    I hope I didn’t break any of the forums rules by posting the video of Mother Teresa earlier. It seems to have been deleted from today’s comments. My apologies if I have broken any rule that I’m not aware of . Have a wonderful day and God Bless all of you .

    • Donna

      As a matter a fact, I was getting ready to send it to my friends, and it’s gone. It was beautiful, thanks for sharing Joseph.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      It is still there

      • Joseph

        Thank you Barbara , I’m sorry , but I don’t see it or I’m not looking in the correct place . Have a great evening

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          I just scrolled down the the spot where it was before, Strange things have been happening on Disqus today on other sites though.

          • Joseph

            Thank you. Did you have a chance to view it ? I sure hope so . It’s very uplifting .

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            Yes I did, It was beautiful Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is my favorite person. When she gets ot be a saint that may be a little problem because St Joseph is my most favorite saint followed by St Teresa of Avila

      • Joseph

        I just re posted it . Good night

  • Avila

    Each day I ask St Nicolas to pray that we all keep the giving spirit of Christmas in our hearts all year. I love the ways that God finds to enable joyful and loving giving, matching it to the ability and uniqueness of the giver. Giving up giving would be a terrible penance. Everyone can give, even the poorest person can give the incredible gift of a smile, a kind word or inspiration.

    May God bless you all.

  • sugarequip

    I often wonder because there are so many poor people in this world, and I have enough, how much do you give away and at what point do you stop before you become “poor” yourself?
    I know the parable of the rich man wanting to go to heaven, but no one has ever explained it. Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven.
    Any one out there who can or wishes to comment

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      I had a priest explain it this way the needles eye was the name for a very narrow gate in walled cities. At sundown the gates of the city were closed only the narrow gate was left open so that people could go out of the city at night. A camel could squeeze through the gate, but first it must be unloaded and the load be left outside the city. Thus a rich man must get rid of his excess before he can get to heaven. Can be done many ways. Generosity to his workers. Creating jobs. giving to research. In general working for the common good.

    • Mary Jane Madeline

      Brian, my comment would be, that it is not being rich that is the problem. It is being attached to it and not sharing some of our blessings with the less fortunate.
      Everything we have is a gift (blessing) from God. If we have good intellect or skills, good health, higher education, a job, these are all gifts that help us to become independent. Many times, the homeless are people who arrived at that state because of unemployment, or ill health, or who do not have family to assist them. Yes, there may be some who have made bad decisions, drug dependence, etc. but perhaps a kind and encouraging dialogue and giving a sandwich or coffee, could allow that homeless person to feel loved, respected as a person, and cared for- a beacon of light for them.
      As for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle, impossible for us, but with God, all things are possible.

  • Ann Ryan

    My spiritual adviser just gave me the same advice last week about interacting with a homeless person. He said, ‘Do not look at their signs, do not look at their overall condition. Just look at the Christ in them”. I prefer to give food over money because I do not want to help pay for a bad drug or alcohol problem. I had taught my six children about the concept of paying it forward and now that they are all adults they still try to do it.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      I believe that interacting is the key word here. When I was living in a city that had a large population of homeless. I made it a habit of having some extra dollar bills. That I would hand out to the homeless. One evening I was attending a play near the downtown area. On my way to the play I encountered a homeless man. I gave him a dollar and hurried on my way as I was running late. As it was dusk, I tripped and fell. The homeless man offered me his hand to help me up. I refused. I believe that my dollar that I gave was useless because of the hand I refused

  • Rob Corzine

    Good stuff. It puts me in mind of the very practical rabbinic rules attached to the Jewish feast of Purim (which falls on the second Sunday of Lent this year). There, each adult must give two different foods to one person, and two charitable donations to two poor people. It is very bad form to spend more on the giving of mishloach manot (the festive food gifts) than on charity to the poor (matanot la’evyonim) . To fulfill the mitzvah of giving charity to two poor people, you can give either food or money. In the distribution from the synagogue to the needy, no distinction is made among the poor; anyone who is willing to accept charity is allowed to participate. Also, this law is obligatory upon everyone down to the poorest Jew; even one who is himself dependent on charity must give something of what he has to other poor people.

  • Lee

    I will paraphrase something I read written by a priest – I would rather give to someone who might ultimately not need help than not to give to someone and find they truly did need help. Help here is in regard to money, etc. That has stuck with me for a long time. I believe God puts at least one person/situation in my path on a daily basis. I can choose to do the right thing for the person/situation or disobey God and not do it. It does become a joy to give.

  • Jay Everett

    Actually this is day 7 due to the fact that Sunday’s are not lent days but Holy Days of Obligation…..

    • Richard Kennedy

      Father’s using “all” the days but calling Sundays a special day.

  • Hugh Byrnes

    Lent is a ‘for giving’ season. It is Christian, but in particular, a historical Catholic observance. ‘Give to Everyone Who Asks’ has a jingoistic quality for me. The Catholic Church has by it’s past history defined the term ‘Charity’. It’s Charity, in the recent times, has been misdirected without concern for the morality of some of it’s use. Hopefully this is not to continue. The Missions of this Church are bleeding today and plead for our help. Is not the deliverance and affirming of the Catholic Faith what this Lenten season is about for us? If so can it’s message be delivered by means of altruistic intent? Does not the gift without acknowledging the giver diminishes the gift? The bread that Christ gave us is the greatest gift of charity imaginable. The ultimate purpose of Lenten giving, the gift of God Himself, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

    • Michael Lee Cornwell

      Hugh,
      Great observation of Church history on this subject.
      Well said and much needed when we tend to think in the present.

      Thank you,

      In Jesus Name,
      The Prayer Warrior

      • Hugh Byrnes

        Thank you Michael. I believe we should pay close to what is being said in society today. Most particularly in our Churches.where at times I have found secular and political worldly views being insinuated. At mass, this morning in my parish, i was alarmed to hear prayers being called for ‘new gun laws and the restriction of guns and ammunition”. This I felt was not the place for views which I consider political and representative of a government administration which leans towards a socialistic society, and does not have the Church’s best interests at heart..

        • Michael Lee Cornwell

          Hugh,
          Jesus said He would never abandon us, nor His Church and that He would hold her up until the end of time. We are Living in a period of “transition” where people have become so distant from God that they cannot nor want to see the light of day because the forest of bigatry and hatred has blocked it out.
          Remember, in the Garden, while Jesus was praying, the crowds came to get Him and for a moment, Peter lost it, drew a sword and retaliated.
          Jesus was not happy with his actions. Jesus understood our, sometimes, thoughtless responses to different encounters in life. Yet He never ask His Heavenly Father to remove Peter from the list of those He had given Hm to build His Church. Why, because Jesus had been praying for them that they be given the grace and love to overcome the adversities that they were going to face in their journey of discipleship.
          Jesus prayed: He prayed that the Fathers’ Love be our strength and our guide not the secular way of Fixing differences.
          By no means is this an easy path but it is the correct one.
          There will darker times, when it will seem like the Light of Christ, in His church has been extinguished but Jesus said He would not let that happen.
          There are times when we are bound to tell our brothers and sisters when they are wrong and times when we stand with them in defense of the Truth.
          Understandably that has become more difficult in a world where “situation ethics” seem to prevail.

          Let us pray, “Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of Your faithful and rekindle in them the Fire of Your Love”. Amen

          The Prayer Warrior

          • Elizabeth

            Thank you Michael for starting the Prayer to the Holy Spirit!

            We have to have hope!

            In the movie The Son of God, produced by Roma Downey and her husband, I was touched also by how Judas is portrayed and how Jesus interprets Judas’ actions, he doesn’t condemn Judas but tells him to go do what he has to do.
            The only difference between Peter and Judas – Peter was able to repent and then recognized his mission, whereas, Judas went into despair.
            All things work together towards good when we wait upon the Lord.
            So in our imperfect world and our imperfect ways we pray,
            ”Send forth your Spirit and they (we) shall be created, And you (we) shall renew the face of the earth.”

  • Homesteader

    I used to ask my kids to offer things up. Not from your excess or want, but from your need! I asked my kids to offer up their once a month school,”Hot Meal” and take their bag lunch instead, and use that money for four kids to offer it up & give it to our Pro-Life group. I also would offer up something extra that we would like to have along with our meals and give that amount instead to a good cause! Also next yr. when you make your lenten list, Tell No One but God! As it should be between you & God and no one else!

    • Mel

      That is fantastic dear Homesteader. God Bless

  • Joseph

    Mother Teresa

  • Paul

    For me it is doing service for others. When I am not giving back in some form of service I am thinking about me and my problems. Sooner or later for me that leads me into depression. God remains a part of my life everyday.
    God bless all of you.

  • Carola

    I believe to be at the service of others specially the poor is to really be an instrument of God.

  • Janice K

    There our sever are several group that need our help, the Susan B Anthony (AUL- Americans for life) that is fighting through legislation against Roe vs Wade and abortion not only in Washington but state by state and they are beginning to win. There is christian group that I have recently come across that was featured on CNN News heroes called “Mary’s Meals) Everyday in country like after and I think other areas that supply meals and then while the children are there they take them to a school and educate them. The two websites actually three are as follows:
    Americans United for Life:

    http://www.aul.org/

    Susan B Anthony List–advancing Pro-life leadership:

    http://www.sba-list.org/about-sba-list/our-mission

    Mary’s meals

    http://www.marysmeals.org.uk/

    Look up to the upper right hand of the screen above the Search area and these are all the countries involved.

  • Walter

    Giving alms, I really struggle with this. I always say that I will buy gift cards to mcdonalds or dunkin donuts and then I forget. And whatI fail to realize at the moment of not going the extra mile is that that little gift card could mean the world to a homeless person, could be the difference between them putting something in their stomach that day or not; it just really bothers me my lack of compassion for others.
    At the other end, I am a very frugal person so I hold on to my possessions to the things I have and then I just save money thats all I want to do. Specially that right now I am unemployed I wanna cheap out on everything so that I do not have to touch our savings. I behave and act like a poor person when I do not even know the first thing their is to know about being really poor. I am ashamed of myself, I am really.
    Lord, this day I ask for your help for your mercy that you open my heart to feel the pain of others and to forget about my own needs. Allow me to give to others from my heart without making the math in my head or wanting to get any recognition. Just allow me to know that I am following you and helping my brothers and sharing the gifts you have blessed me with others.
    Thank you!

    • Mel

      Dear Walter, thanks for sharing. Please do not put yourself down, that is the work of the Satan making you feel sorry and guilty for yourself. I am in the same boat with my husband, always struggling to give someone on the road side but when I have read so many good comments and Fr Barron’s note, it has encouraged me to persevere and try and do the good deed. Do not worry about your savings etc because when you give with a good heart, God will provide you more, that I have experienced. My mum had nothing but she always gave. One day my mum asked me for money so that she can sew and cook for other and I told my Mum how can you give pickles, sew clothes, you do not have the money and her reply was – You have and what you have does not belong to you, it belongs to God, He has given you, so thank HIM and share it with others with a heart full of love and you will receive in return double. I have done it and it is true. I do not lack anything. This is what Fr said that Saint Thomas A. said that you might own it but you must learn to share it when someone needs it. My husband once told me about 37 years ago that we do our bit of giving to the charities and do not wonder if they are just or not because it is not our place to judge but God’s place. On the last day we are not going to answer to God – I thought that Charity was fraud etc and we might be wrong, hence we pray and do the right thing. God Bless

  • Sharon Caeti Younes

    One practical way I try to simplify is to ask myself “do I really need this?” The answer many times is no. And I’ll find a way to talk myself out of it. If the thing is not practical, then it’s easier for me to let go. Now I will try and give that saved money to a needy cause.

  • Joseph

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=43P3UNn936E

    I hope it stays this time . Enjoy it everyone . Good night all .

  • Barb Sherburne

    Certainly it is good to give,through our church or other organizations. The suggestion that you give to all who ask gets you on a mailing list for too many. I have favorites that are on my heart to help. One is the American Indian , some are so poor. My daughter suggested to me to give the money from the candy I will not buy during lent to one of the clean water projects. We all have many options.

  • Deng

    I do not earn much but I give my share of giving during special ocasions like my birthday , my sons birthday, when i received my bonus and during christmas. They are my thanksgiving offering to GOD for
    Everything HE has given me.

  • Susan Rose

    I know I try not to prejudge in those asking me for money…. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said, The good that we do today may be forgotten tomorrow, do good anyway, for you see in the end, it is between you and God it was never you and them, anyway! And how true is that….

  • Inky McPhinke

    Please consider making a donation to this young family and their beautiful little child in their time of need. God bless.
    http://www.youcaring.com/other/helping-baby-gracelin/133699

  • kayeloney@cox.net

    I give to Catholic Charties, and clean out clothes and take in. I give extra to the Priest that need money for their parish. I try to do a little here a there all year round.

  • Dale Powers

    Fabulous new book on this topic: “Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition” by Gary A. Anderson. Really brings home the relationship between the “rich” and the poor. It supports the comments of both of the wonderful Cardinals mentioned in the comments!

  • Patti Raithel

    I loved this, I just threw away a few donor cards because I was planning to give a big gift later during lent. But, I can see that even $5 is a worthy gift and it all adds up . We just all need to put ourselves in others shoes and this lent give more.

  • RBA47

    “You snakes, you brood of vipers!” (Matthew 23:33). Jesus’ farewell discourse with John is absolute and unqualified: “feed my lambs. … tend my sheep. … feed my sheep.” (John 21: 15 – 19). Right wing Catholics cannot escape Christ’s condemnation for failing to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit the condemned (Matthew 25: 31 – 46), by simply putting a $1 in an envelope and 25 cents in a tin cup. Nor can Catholic Charities, as laudable as their work is, claim absolution for an entire nation, nor even for all the Catholics within it. With a continent-wide nation of over 300 million people, to be true to Christ’s command, we, as a nation, must care for Christ’s sheep and lambs. The conservative Catholic right should beware. But thankfully, Francis, the Vicar of Christ, has remembered Christ — even if many of the Catholic Church’s conservative bishops have forgotten. The Pope is now reminding his church — and the world — of Christ’s unalterable, unqualified mission to care for the poor, the destitute, the forgotten. Christ did not speak in circumlocutions, such as “subsidiarity,” nor should we, lest we be “snakes and vipers” cast “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

  • Laura

    This reflection came at an amazingly perfect time. I was asked to make a monthly donation towards supporting televised Catholic masses and wasn’t sure if I should commit. I have my answer!