By Carol Younger

Glance back to the Ash Wednesday readings.  “Jesus said, ‘Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them…’” 

Lent is in your heart, that hidden place where you choose Christ and learn to desire what He desires. In prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, choose God above all, praying more, pleasing your flesh less and sharing more material blessings.

My priest told us, at a recent Mass, of his encounter with almsgiving. As a foreign national studying in the US, he lived on a meager monthly stipend assisting in a parish while a full-time student. He had the whole stipend in his pocket, one fifty-dollar bill. He went to Target for monthly necessities. At the store entrance, a homeless person begged for money. He thought to move on, but his heart was challenged by a thought.

Am I a Christian or not? He turned around, without thinking, pulled out his wallet and gave the one bill in there to the homeless person.  He went into the store, stopped suddenly, realizing what he had done—given away everything.  Stunned, he didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, a couple from the parish where he served greeted him, asking why he was there. He said shopping. The couple looked at each other and put $200 in his hand in cash. Caught by surprise, he reflected—his indifference at first passing the beggar reminded him: the rich man ignores the beggar Lazarus at his door until it’s too late, and suffers in the torment of the flames, after death. Struck by the generosity offered him immediately after his own unaware alms, Father concluded: indifference is the sin, not alms given or received. 

See the need, be willing to give away what little I have. How will I learn to trust without giving what little I have?