Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On Almsgiving

(excerpts from Catholic Encyclopedia – Alms and Almsgiving)

ALMSGIVING - Any material favour done to assist the needy, and prompted by charity.

- Charity demands that the vital interests of an indigent neighbour should supersede personal advantages of a much lower order. To a neighbour in serious or pressing indigence, alms must be given by using such commodities as are superfluous in relation to present social advantages. This does not imply an obligation of answering every call, but rather a readiness, to give alms according to the dictates of well-regulated charity.

- No one, however wealthy, is obliged to take extraordinary measures to assist a neighbour even in direful straits. There is never any obligation of using the necessaries of life for almsgiving, because well-regulated charity ordinarily obliges everyone to prefer his own vital interests to those of his neighbour.

- Almsgiving should be discreet, so as to reach deserving individuals or families: prompt, secret, humble and cheerful.

"Blessed is he that considers the needy and the poor". (Psalm 40:2)

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God”. (2 Cor 9:11)

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Mat 25:35).

(all emphasis mine)

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