Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Why Almsgiving?

Why and how does giving of our finances to those less needy than us bring us closer to God? In my old evangelical church we had a saying that went like this: " Jesus needs to be Lord of All, including our wallets. " This saying has its roots in historical Church teaching and the Bible.
Scripture often speaks on how there was an inverse relationship between our growth in grace and our attraction to money. Does poverty equate with spirituality? No, but remember how easy it is for a rich man to get into heaven? (Think Eye of Needle) Perhaps, the reason the Church emphasizes this during Lent is to refocus our values which have a tendency, especially in my case, to get out of focus.

I am thankful that the Church reminds us to reach into our wallets and out of ourselves for the poor and needy this season of Lent.

"Dear brothers and sisters, Lent invites us to “train ourselves” spiritually, also through the practice of almsgiving, in order to grow in charity and recognize in the poor Christ Himself. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that the Apostle Peter said to the cripple who was begging alms at the Temple gate: “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk” (Acts 3,6). In giving alms, we offer something material, a sign of the greater gift that we can impart to others through the announcement and witness of Christ, in whose name is found true life. Let this time, then, be marked by a personal and community effort of attachment to Christ in order that we may be witnesses of His love. May Mary, Mother and faithful Servant of the Lord, help believers to enter the “spiritual battle” of Lent, armed with prayer, fasting and the practice of almsgiving, so as to arrive at the celebration of the Easter Feasts, renewed in spirit. With these wishes, I willingly impart to all my Apostolic Blessing." (cf Pope Benedict 16th's Lenten Reflection)



Blogger Scott Lyons said...

Poverty does not equal spirituality (spiritual maturity). I would certainly agree. Ah, but here's the question: What does voluntary poverty equal?

It seems in my reading about the early fathers, they seem to have all had a penchant for giving away all they owned - many were monastics, to be certain, where poverty was part of their vows. And while the voluntary poverty is certainly not the culmination, or height, of their maturity/holiness, I often wonder if it is an important milestone.

February 01, 2008 6:37 PM  
Blogger ------- Theo ------- said...

It is wonderful and right that you remind us that giving alms is a correct and pious act in itself. Yes, there are various examples in scripture and elsewhere where one's generosity to the poor or to ministry results in temporal blessing to the giver, but we also know that we are to lend without hope of recompense and we are to let our love be without restraint.

Some twenty years ago one of my dorm neighbors at an inter-denominational Bible school I attended told me flatly, "If I did not think God would make me rich, I would not serve Him." What a contrast that is to Jesus' instruction to the rich young man who asked what he must do to be saved!

Speaking as one who has personally witnessed the generosity you have bestowed on so many in need and many worthy ministers, I'm truly glad you have been and remain so good an example. As I've often said, TJ, your imitation of Christ in both word and deed is worthy to follow.

Your bro,

February 01, 2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Hi tiber and pd. Just wanted to comment that the illustration is my all time favorite painting of Jesus. I carry copies in my Missal to give to people in need. I loved seeing a representation of this painting in Hanceville in the Shrine garden and pathway.

February 01, 2008 8:22 PM  

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