Almsgiving, along with prayer and fasting, is one of the three “acts of religion”, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It was preached by Jesus Christ and is a means of “interior penance” and a way of expressing “conversion in relation to oneself, to God and to others”. It is “one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity” and a “work of justice pleasing to God”.
The Catholic Church prescribes almsgiving during Lent since it can serve as an atonement for the sins of both the living and the dead.
Alms can be given directly to the poor who Catholics encounter in their daily lives. Perhaps more commonly alms are offered through Catholic charities established to serve the needy at home and overseas. These charities’ expertise may ensure that any cash given will be used wisely.
Catholics can tie their almsgiving to the corporal works of mercy and other charitable acts undertaken by themselves.
They could also link it to Lenten abstinence by handing over as alms any money saved from giving up or cutting back on the luxuries they enjoy legitimately during the rest of the year.
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