Day 3: An Offering

Some alms, simple tokens

given from one to another,

not requiring that which

is commonly spoken.

Let us speak of this gift

and follow its path as it drifts.

It travels, kissing every soul

that it touches.

With willing hands,

release this favor

from our clutches.

It transforms for the needy

into food and some drink;

for those that society

deem should shrink.

From one piggy bank

it skims from the top;

for others,

it means everything,

as into their grasp,

it silently drops.

For the givers,

it is precious time

perhaps, deemed as lost;

for receivers,

there is no price

on your gracious cost.

It can come in the form

of a craft that is given

to others whose

tired, aging hands

require forgiving.

But the greatest

of all alms

that is yet bestowed,

is that humble

smile returned

from a simple token

that one showed.

You have given of your

time, talent, and treasure;

and yet it is not that which

makes a heart feel better.

All this time, it was them

I thought my touch affected;

No, it was upon my heart

their merciful smile perfected.

Before you begin your day:

St. Augustine says 'Fasting and alms-giving are "the two wings of prayer." They enable it to gain momentum and more easily reach even to God.'

When we think of alms, most likely our minds lead us to money and this is good. But, let's pretend for a moment you have none. What would you then lend to the needy? Who are the needy? What do they need? Physical Support? Emotional Comfort? Spiritual Guidance? Are they far off or right outside your door? In your community? Your neighbor? The stranger that sits alone in Church? Those you prayed for yesterday?

How do you picture the needy? Do you see them as beneath you? Do you see them as dirty? Hungry? Poor? Downtrodden? Lonely? Misguided? Do you have an image? Close your eyes for a moment and pause here.

Now, how do you think God sees them? Close your eyes once more and allow God to show you. Open your eyes and witness.

Do you have a special talent or gift? Are you crafty? Do you like to cook? Do you like to organize? Vacuum? Grocery Shop? Care for Children? What do you do for work? Could what you do or make be offered to another? Are you a great listener? Do you have a life experience you've overcome that would benefit another struggling there? Do you love to give hugs to the lonely? Smiles to the stranger? Pardon to the guilty?

On a piece of paper, write down a gift that you have been bestowed. Next to that word, choose a word or words from the poem that demonstrate what this gift would mean to another. Keep this paper with you today as a reminder of the grace God has gifted you to extend to others.

During your day:

Read Isaiah 58: 6-12; Matthew 7: 12; Ephesians 4: 11-12; Galatians 6: 2

Offering: that which God has graciously endowed to you - offer it freely today.

Throughout your day:

INHALE: Thank you for the blessing of _________________________.

EXHALE: Help me offer this gift to ________________________________.

(repeat as many times as needed)

Before you end your day:

Blessed Lord, thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon me. Help me to understand the significance of these gifts. Provide me with clarity and guidance for where to place them during this Lenten time of offering. Help me to perceive the beauty in all your children, seeing each as you see them. Transform my disregard into affection, my bitterness into compassion, and my doubt into faith. Saturate my heart with You. Amen.

Goodnight; sleep well; know you are blessed.


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