I have a penance to do an act of charity for someone. Any ideas?
If you know an elderly person in your parish who needs a ride to Mass and back, that could be a good one. Another would be help a co-worker or a classmate on a project. You could even donate some time at the local homeless shelter or at your area food bank. If you still live at home, you could offer to do some extra chores.
When I was assigned that same penance, I gave $5 to a homeless person. Benedictgal gave some great ideas.
Does donating to charity count as an “act” of charity? If so, does anyone know a good charity to donate to?
That would count. You can donate either to your local homeless shelter or the battered women’s shelter or your local orphanage. The food bank is also a good place to donate (in kind and cash). You could also donate money or time to your diocesan pro-life office.
Forgive me if this sounds nit-picky. I tend to worry if I have fulfilled my penance or not.
I would like to give to a charitable organization. Does that satisfy my penance if I was told to “make a charitable act for someone” since the organization is an organization and not a person?
It is an indirect way of helping others because the money you donate will go to someone. If you don’t mind my asking, why are you reticent about doing something so simple? It is not like helping someone is going to be something huge. It could be taking out the trash even when it is not your turn or helping someone at work, or, even listening to a co-worker if they have a problem. Doing something charitable for someone does not entail something grand and glorious.
I donate monthly to ModestNeeds.org . You get to pick the actual family/person you would like to help. It is wonderful, and if they post a thank you note, it gets emailed to you. I also include my families in my prayer intentions too.
I wouldn’t be so sure about this option. To me it sounds like the priest wants you to learn a lesson about charity and (perhaps) self-sacrifice by giving of your time and effort to help someone. I don’t know your financial situation, but 5 dollars to a homeless person doesn’t really do much in the way of requiring my time OR my sacrifice.
I would personally DO something, because the spirit of what the priest is getting at is that you have something to gain or learn by DOING this penance. Don’t shirk it, it’s for your benefit.
An act of charity could be to let someone in front of you at the grocery store that only has one item (or ten, I guess).
Letting a car in front of you at a difficult merge.
Giving someone your umbrella in a rainstorm.
Being kind to the person at work everyone dislikes.
An act of charity (and I must remember that, too) is letting someone else have the parking space that you have been circling around like Jaws trying to get.
I don’t know. I think I just like to get my penance done as soon as possible. If I was at home, I would wash the dishes for my mom or something, but I am at college right now. I guess I have to wait for a situation like that to come up, and I will jump on it.
I am often in the situation to give my seat up on a bus. Would something that small actually count as an act of charity?
Yes. Remember, St. Therese (the Little Flower) said that we can do small acts with great love.
As soon as possible? Rather, focus on getting it done in the best way possible. In another post you mentioned giving up your seat on a bus and asking if that was sufficient. That is a question for YOU to answer. Have you learned a lesson about charity by doing that act? Is it something that has taught you a lesson or just a ho-hum little thing. Your priest has given you the room to interpret how far you need to go with this. That’s YOUR responsibility to determine, then. I personally wouldn’t go for just giving up my seat, but as I said, that’s all up to you.
Above all, do your penance with right mindedness for improving yourself, not for speed of “getting it out of the way”
Why not ask Jesus to provide you with an opportunity? You’ll probably be amazed at how quickly He complies with your request by putting someone smack-dab in the middle of your way to nudge you on your way to your charitable act.