Give to others says Pope

Being slaves to material goods and wealth can be conquered by giving to the poor, Pope Benedict said in this year's Lenten message.

The Holy Father reiterated that almsgiving helps Christians "free" themselves from world goods and is an exercise of self-denial.

Catholic News Service reports the Pope's Lenten message themed, "Christ Made Himself Poor For You" stresses the notion that while material riches possess an enormous "force of attraction", they must not be idolised.

"Almsgiving helps us overcome this constant temptation, teaching us to respond to our neighbour's needs and to share with others whatever we possess through divine goodness," Pope Benedict said.

"The Lenten season is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, which aid in an inward cleansing that allows the Christian to welcome Easter with renewed spirit."

Pope Benedict added he hoped his Lenten message reflected almsgiving in a way that is not an "empty, loveless gesture of philanthropy or an egotistical attempt for attention or applause."

"There is little use in giving one's personal goods to others if it leads to a heart puffed up in vain glory but it must be hidden and, as everything, must be done for God's glory and not our own," he said.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday February 6 and Easter Sunday is March 23.

Pope's Lenten message says almsgiving conquers temptation of wealth
(Catholic News Service 29/01/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Lent - Catholic Encyclopedia

Cardinal brings Lenten message to YouTube (CathNews 28/02/07)
Pope says spirituality fundamental to fight against poverty (CathNews 01/02/06)
Pope's Lenten message urges respect for elderly (CathNews 28/01/05)

30 Jan 2008