With Lent just around the corner, what better time to remind all true Catholics of their obligation for works of mercy? One of the requests by holy Mother Church during Lent is to place an emphasis on almsgiving in which one gives of their riches to share with others, not out of a socialistic mindset, but rathere out of a scriptural reason to love our neighbor because of our love for God. We are cautioned to be prudent in giving to government or political organizations, unions and expensively organized 'charities' that employ thousands and we cannot be sure our donations will go for the cause for which we wanted to give. That is why, especially within the traditional movement, we remember our own, and give what we can to do our part in perpetuating the holy Faith as it was always taught from the time of Christ through the death of the last true Pope on October 9, 1958. If the Faith is important to you, you, too, will realize how important almsgiving is during Lent and ask yourself what you can do to strengthen that Faith by giving to your chapel, your true priests and bishops and to publications who do not compromise one iota with the counterfeit church of conciliarism. If you do not, someday all of these that you might take for granite could be gone and then what would you have? Look at the world today and ask yourself if you can afford to be tight with the riches God bestowed on you.
Editor's Note: This series is an effort to return to basics since too often we all make the holy Faith complicated, whereas in reality the truths and traditions of the Catholic Faith are quite simple. God doesn't complicate things, man does. Realizing the fact that, for many generations indoctrinated by conciliar ambiguities, it all seems so confusing, we are introducing this series which is an adaptation of an earlier series titled "Appreciating the Precious Gift of the Faith" in utilizing a combination of the excellent compendium of the late Bishop Morrow's pre-Vatican II Manual of Religion My Catholic Faith and Dom Prosper Gueranger's incomparable The Liturgical Year as well as the out-of-print masterpieces The Catholic Church Alone The One True Church(1902) and the Cabinet of Catholic Information (1903). Through prayer and discussions, we've decided to employ this revised series to simplify the tenets of the Faith for those who continue to wallow in what they think is the 'Catholic Church' out of obedience to a man and his hierarchy who long ago betrayed Christ and His flocks. This then, is an affirmation of the basic truths the Spotless Bride of Christ has always taught and cannot change or evolve as "living documents" for truth is truth. As we say every day in the Act of Faith, "We believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived." If you have been deceived, and the vast majority have been, then realize what you've been indoctrinated with over the past 50 years cannot be from God but from His adversary. Our advice: flee the conciliar confines as well as other man-made religions which do not teach these truths without compromise. Seek out a traditional chapel nearest to you. There is a list of churches you can absolutely trust at Traditional Latin Masses
"Take heed not to practice your good before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you shall have no reward with your Father in Heaven" (St. Matthew 6:11). The widow's mite had more value in the eyes of God than the gold that the rich poured ostentatiously into the Temple's coffers. Everything done for the service of our neighbor may be considered almsgiving. Everything spent in good works is lent to God, Who will return it with interest. "Come, blessed of My Father…Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it for one of these, the least of My brethren, you did it for Me…As long as you did not do it for one of these least ones, you did not do it for Me" (St. Matthew 25:34, 40, 43).
Every one is obliged to perform the works of mercy, according to his own ability and the need of his neighbor. By the works of mercy we put into practice the commandments of God completely, not merely avoiding sin, but doing good to others. Our obligation of good works varies with our condition in life and our vocation as also with the degree of need of our neighbor. The obligation of a millionaire for the poor of his city is not the same as that of a wage-earner; neither is the duty of a bishop for good works the same as that of a layman.
It is a most serious obligation to give alms to the needy according to one's means. If material or corporal alms or works of mercy are not within our means, we can always give spiritual alms: prayers, etc. "Every tree therefore that is not bringing forth good fruit is to be cut down and thrown into the fire" (St. Matthew 3:10). "Faith without works is useless" (James 2:20).
One who does no works of mercy fails to comply with the precept of love of neighbor. As Saint Ambrose said to the stingy rich of his time: "The walls of your dwellings are hung with the magnificent tapestry, while you strip the clothes off the poor man's back. A beggar is at your door pleading for a small alms; you do not even glance at him as you debate within yourself what kind of marble to use for the pavements of your palaces. The diamond you wear on your finger is sufficient to feed a multitude!"
He who performs the works of mercy in order to obtain the praise of others does not practice virtue, for his intention is not of God. Even poor people can do works of mercy, because what counts before God is not the amount we give, but the good will with which we give what we can afford. "If I distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:3). This 'charity' Saint Paul speaks of is nothing but the pure love of God and neighbor: it excludes all vanity.
In doing the works of mercy, we should not be moved by the hope that we shall receive an earthly reward. Hence we should do good preferably to those who cannot repay us: "When thou givest a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; and blessed shalt thou be, because they have nothing to repay thee with: for thou shalt be repaid at the resurrection" (St. Luke 14:13).
"When thou givest alms, do not let thy left hand know what thy right hand is doing, so that thy alms may be given in secret, and thy Father, Who sees in secret, will reward thee" (St. Matthew 6:3-4). This does not mean, however, that we should always keep our good works in secret, for Our Lord Himself advised "So let your light shine before men in order that they may see your good works, and give glory to your Father in Heaven" (St. Matthew 5:16). If what we do will give good example, we should let it be known, but always with true modesty.
We ought to give material alms only to those really poor or unable to get work. It would be wrong to support people in idleness or vice; this would be to encourage them in sin. But if we have no means of finding out about the poor who beg our aid, it is much better to err on the side of charity than miserliness.
Quite a number of people give as an excuse for not giving alms the fact that many beggars are "fakes" who amass wealth by begging. It is, however, true, that such fakes cannot be of a considerable number, and that the people who most often excuse themselves do not give to anybody at all. Is not God generous to us? Let us imitate His example.
Some practical ways of almsgiving are: to give help to our poor relatives, those in want, the true Church in the catacombs, and charitable institutions where the money will not be used to pad administrative pockets. In the works of charity, we should give preference to our relatives, to our fellow Catholics, to our friends.
"Charity begins at home". It is not edifying to see well-known figures in public charities turn away a poor cousin who begs for some help to send his little child to school. This would very likely mean that the public charities done by such people are so done only for show, not from kindness of heart. As for fellow Catholics, St. Paul said: "Let us do good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10).
The true Church (not to be confused with the counterfeit church of conciliarsm that arose from Vatican II) may be helped by giving alms to traditional parishes, convents, missions, schools, homes for the poor, and yes, traditional publications who exist only through the charity of its contributors, yet operate on a widow's mite because so few seem to care. Even children should be trained early to give alms by setting aside every week a small sum from their pocket-money. "By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (St. John 13:35).
In these times, there are many organizations conducted by the government or by laymen to aid particular groups of the poor. In contributing to such organizations, we should exercise very prudent care. It has become the fashion to give alms to "institutions" instead of directly to the poor, to let these "institutions" distribute our charity for us; in other words, it is fashionable to give charity "by proxy". We should remember that personal charity is more kind than impersonal charity through institutions, that signing and mailing a check does not seem to be as Christian as visiting the poor in their dwellings, finding out what they really need, giving them comfort and aid directly, giving what they can of one's own riches for those riches come from God as well as the talents that contributed towards one gaining those riches. We must not squander such riches by not sharing them with those in need, truly in need to help them reach Heaven. That must be our first goal.
We should also, if we are too busy to do anything but "institutional charity", find out which are worthy of help. Some such institutions are top-heavy; that is, too much goes for officials' salaries.
Most religious orders are mendicant, in the same manner The DailyCatholic is. Almost every traditional organization is totally dependent upon the mercy of donations. These religious organizations, just as this publication and its parent organization SANCTUS, earmark nothing for salaries. All love offerings go back into spreading Catholic Truth and giving readers throughout the world the unadulterated facts of why the conciliar church of Vatican II is not Catholic and, because of that, such publications as ours and others are necessary for the salvation of souls. A literary lifeboat in a sea of syncretism, if you will. There are a handful of excellent traditional publications that have not been fooled by the 'Motu Mess' or any other novelties, who have not compromised one iota from Catholic Truth as it has always been up through the death of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. Consider the CMRI, for example, who strive to send more missionaries to needed areas where they are starving for the true Sacraments from Moscow to New Zealand, from Argentina to Mexico, from Canada to Europe. Others need help furnishing necessary religious items and food for the poor, or funding literature that furthers the Word of God and His teachings...from printed collateral to publications like this one which reaches out universally and is free to all. Yet bills need to be paid to keep the publication on line, just as bills need to be paid to provide gas and electric for missions, pay for food for the poor, or whatever. And we all know how expensive gas and food have become by the day! When you give to a religious charity you can be relatively sure 90-100% is going for good, not into someone's wallet for their own greed.
All the ordinary deeds done very day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others are true works of mercy, if done in the name of Christ as we showed in Step 29. "And before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right hand, 'Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; naked and you covered Me; sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the just will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and feed Thee; or thirsty, and give Thee drink? And when did we see Thee a stranger, and take Thee in; or naked, and clothe Thee? Or when did we see Thee sick, or in prison and come to Thee?' And answering, the King will say to them, 'Amen I say to you, as long as you did it for one of these, the least of My brethren, you did it for Me'" (St. Matthew 25: 32-40).
If, in all of our works, we remember and love God, we have the supernatural motive. That's all that matters.
Catholicism Made Simple