Almsgiving is good for you

It’s easy to forget that almsgiving is not only a good idea and helpful to the needy, but also good for the giver, a spiritual discipline, encouraging detachment from things, and a form of union with God’s Energies and activities everywhere – which may be why the Lord said, “It is more blest to give than to receive.” Self-restraint of greed, desire, envy … all things I have some acquaintance with as a not-so-healthy working-class American!

So said the pope of Rome in his Lenten message this week. (Western Lent starts this Wednesday.) The trio of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving is also traditionally part of Orthodoxy’s Great Fast, which this year begins on Clean Monday, March 10. They’re also part of Orthodoxy throughout the year, though not as emphasized as during Fasts, especially the Great Fast.

I also read somewhere that it’s good to say a prayer for a recipient when writing the check, filling-out the online form, giving it in-person (not necessarily audibly, I suppose, unless you’re a cleric or monastic maybe!), or whatever.

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