03-08-2020Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The foundational call of Christians to charity is a frequent theme of the Gospels. During Lent, we are asked to focus more intently on "almsgiving," which means donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity. As one of the three pillars of Lenten practice, almsgiving is "a witness to fraternal charity" and "a work of justice pleasing to God." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2462).

Our Lord gives us three essential occasions for spiritual growth during the Lenten Season--prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I have already addressed the importance of prayer and fasting in previous bulletins. Today I want to focus on the third of the three pillars: Almsgiving.

The word for alms comes from a Greek word that when translated means mercy. So, to give alms means to show mercy. One of the attributes of God is that of mercy. Since God is merciful, we must show mercy too. One of the great ways we show mercy is by giving to the poor. Giving to those in need is listening and following God's command to love our neighbor as ourselves.

If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that you too are in need. We are all in need of healing from something that we have done or that was done to us. The remedy for the healing we seek comes from God in a variety of ways. The seven Sacraments offer hope and healing as they draw us closer to God and who He created us to be.

The Sacraments are expression of God's mercy and love for us His children. When we give alms, we are offering only what God has given us. However, if you neglect the needs of others, it is a grave sin against charity because you are acting in a way that is contrary to who God made you to be. We are made for love. We are made to love.

While almsgiving may seem straightforward, you may still wonder how exactly you can practice it this Lent. To guide us, Mother Church outlines 7 corporal—or bodily—works of mercy, as well as 7 spiritual works of mercy.

The corporal works of mercy are:

  • To feed the hungry
  • To give drink to the thirsty
  • To clothe the naked
  • To shelter the homeless
  • To visit the sick
  • To ransom the captive
  • To bury the dead

The spiritual works of mercy are:

  • To instruct the ignorant
  • To counsel the doubtful
  • To admonish sinners
  • To bear wrongs patiently
  • To forgive offenses willingly
  • To comfort the afflicted
  • To pray for the living and the dead