Lent Preparation: Mite Boxes and Almsgiving

Yesterday, I received in the mail a very simple little device:  a mite box. Meant to be like a little donations box in the church, the mite box is perfect to be placed in the home during lent in an area where it will be seen as a way to remind us during lent that we ought to be doing something for the poor and the needy.

I remember getting these in grade school and putting change and milk tokens in it — those plastic tokens that worked like money at lunch time in the cafeteria.


The good works most pleasing in God’s sight are these: Prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds.

By these works the centurion Cornelius merited the praise of the angel (Acts x.), and Tobias the approval of Raphael (Tob. xii. 8). In the sermon on the mount Our Lord lays special stress on these works (Matt. vi.). Prayer includes every kind of divine worship, the reception of the sacraments, hearing Mass, attending sermons, etc. Fasting is not merely abstaining from food, or some sort of food, but the repression of sensual desires in general, e.g., restrain ing curiosity, the avoidance of idle conversation, denying one s self some pleasure. As alms may be reckoned every service rendered to one’s neighbor, preeminently the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the principal means of attaining perfection, because they combat the three evil appetites, the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life; and thus the soul is enabled to rise more freely to God.

By prayer the pride of life is suppressed, by fasting the craving for sensual enjoyment, by almsgiving the desire for earthly riches. Thus by prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds, more than by anything else, we shake off the bonds of earth and consequently draw nearer to God.

Do you have yours yet? What almsgiving or almsdeeds will you do this lent?

Got a plan for your almsdeeds this lent?

For lent, you should be thinking of:

  • a fast
  • almsdeeds
  • prayer

Do you have a mite box sent from your parish? Do your children? Do you remember getting these in the past?

This article, Lent Preparation: Mite Boxes and Almsgiving is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.

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