The Three Pillars of Lent: Almsgiving

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Recall that the three Pillars of Lent are Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. This week we will speak about Almsgiving.

 

Like fasting, almsgiving is a practice that encourages us to think about our lives and ourselves in new ways. Almsgiving encourages focusing on what we have to give, rather than on what we can get for ourselves. It also can help correct our attitude toward material possessions. Rather than hording our things out of fear that we may not have enough, almsgiving encourages us to express gratitude for all that God has given to us by giving some away.

 

Small acts of almsgiving help us to grow in charity, leading toward recognition of Jesus Christ in the poor of our world. Almsgiving takes us beyond an attitude of “it’s just me and God,” as we respond to the needs of others, of those who participate in the Body of Christ with us.

 

When you talk about your family’s ideas for giving, read the story of the widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4). As you might recall, a poor widow gave two small coins to the Temple treasury, but because she gave all that she had, Jesus said that she had given more than those who had given larger amounts out of their plenty. The lesson: it is the size of our generosity, not the size of our act, that makes the difference.

 

Here are some ways to practice almsgiving this Lent.

  • Show an act of kindness to each family member each day.

  • Show an act of kindness to a friend and to someone who is difficult to like.

  • Do someone else’s chores one day this week.

  • Donate a new item of children’s clothing to the local homeless shelter or clothing center.

  • Go through your closet and find some clothes in good shape to give away to other teens who are in need of clothes.

  • Write a letter or create a card for someone who is sick or might be lonely.

  • Buy a can of food to give to a food bank or homeless shelter.

  • Eat one simple meal each week of Lent as a family and donating the money you save or give the money to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

  • Pay for Screen time. Anytime someone wants to play/use with a screen, they need to pay money from their piggy banks. Decide as a family where that money will be donated to at the end of Lent. (not only a lesson in giving but also a lesson in sacrificing when you don't get to have screen time because you don't have the money to pay for it.)

 

Resources from: Archdiocese of Atlanta - Office of Formation and Discipleship; Teaching Catholic Kids: Spirit 4 Teens