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Aide Says Almsgiving a Source of Joy

Father Lombardi Reflects on Pope’s Lenten Message

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 5, 2008 ( Almsgiving is a source of joy, and through it the world can see that peace and happiness is not a distant reality, affirmed a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this while reflecting on Benedict XVI’s Lenten message during the Vatican television weekly program “Octava Dies.”

“We do not live Christian penance closed up in ourselves; it cannot lack a social dimension of active openness toward others, beginning with those who are in need, overcoming egoism and attachment to the exclusive possession of our own goods,” the Vatican spokesman explained.

Father Lombardi continued: “In any case, this is a matter of such true and profound depths of the human reality that it is easy to recognize it as present in the other great religious experiences as well.

“The Pope recalls the perennial teaching of the Church, according to which the goods of the earth are destined for all, and we are their stewards more than their owners. Remember that the Church cannot grow as a community without an effective solidarity within.

“The collections that are made in many parts of the world often manifest a great generosity, and bear witness that the Christian people is well aware of this duty.”

Father Lombardi noted that the papal message focused on a “particularly profound and significant aspect of almsgiving: joy.”

The Holy Father “recalls the words of Scripture: ‘There is more joy in giving than in receiving’ and evokes the experience of joy that is felt in the gratuitous gift, given out of love, even in little things,” the Jesuit said. “God the Father faithfully recompenses generosity toward those who are in need with a blessing of ‘peace, inner satisfaction and joy.’”

“This is one of the concrete — we would like to say ‘experiential’ — proofs of the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit, who is given to all, easily and generously, when we only take a step to get out of egoism and enter into the world of gratuity and love,” Father Lombardi added. “We hope to do it often this Lent, so that the world around us also sees that the way of peace and joy is not far away and impossible, but is near and at hand. Every day.”

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