Yesterday I suggested that one valuable Alms we can give during Lent is prayer for the Holy Souls.
Today, I'd like to suggest another category for whom prayer is a valuable form of Alms; and so one which we can all, regardless of our financial circumstances, give.
I refer to the poor : not the financially poor, but to the 'poor in spirit' - although I accept that not infrequently the two things go together. When you see someone begging on a street corner, there is a good chance that s/he is not going to be going to Church anytime soon.
I know a fine Anglican priest who always concludes Benediction with the invocation 'And now, let us say the Our Father for all those who have made no prayer or act of worship this day' : and I also know a teenager who carries cheap rosaries with him to give to beggars who ask him for money - 'Sorry; I haven't got any - but have a rosary !' Surprisingly often, it is much appreciated. I am sure that gifts such as these are dear to God's heart.
As with the Holy Souls, if each of us can just say one prayer each day of this Lent for those who will not say a prayer for themselves, we are giving them something very precious : and we are giving an Alms which will not go unnoticed by God.