The final pillar of Lent is almsgiving. Now that we have set the foundation of our Lenten journey with prayer and we have carved out space for something new through fasting, we are ready to give thought to how we can share the gifts God has entrusted to us. Almsgiving is an intentional way to be charitable.
When considering how or what to give away this Lent, let’s think of where our gifts intersect with the needs of society around us. How might we use a skill that comes naturally to us, or that we’ve been privileged enough to develop, in service of something that benefits others? Do we have resources, whether money or material, that could offer some support to someone? And what about time, a most precious offering? We all have been given the same amount of minutes in a day. How might we give some of those away to another in loving kindness?
Even the simplest of gestures makes a difference. To increase someone’s joy, to stand in solidarity with another, to encourage someone in hope — all of these are contributions we can make for one another. St. Polycarp of Smyrna wrote “When you can do good, defer it not, because ‘alms delivers from death.’” We lift one another out of hardship when we attune ourselves to the needs we are called to serve. Let us not delay in doing so.
Our almsgiving can be a way to honor the many times in life when someone has given us just what we needed to get through the next day, hour, or moment. We are a communal people, connected in the ebb and flow of challenge and grace. To give charitably to another in a spirit of compassion is to deposit more love into the world.
May you be inspired!
Note: For the full reflection on the three pillars of Lent visit Tau Center’s “Still Point: Journey of Lent 2022.”