To receive the pilgrim and supply him with alms was always considered the duty of every Christian: Charlemagne, indeed, made it a legal obligation to withhold neither roof, hearth, nor fire from them (Admon.
But on the other hand we find the Chinese saint, on the approach of death, causing one of his disciples to frame a catalogue of his good works, of the books that he had translated or caused to be transcribed, of the sacred pictures executed at his cost, of the alms that he had given, of the living creatures that he had ransomed from death.
St Francis did not intend that begging and alms should be the normal means of sustenance for his friars; on the contrary, he intended them to live by the work of their hands, and only to have recourse to begging when they could not earn their livelihood by work.
In 1678, in a Discourse of Idolatry, he had endeavoured to fasten the practices of heathenish idolatry on the Church of Rome, and in a sermon which he published in 1681 on Discretion in Giving Alms was attacked by Andrew Pulton, head of the Jesuits in the Savoy.
This is the first notice of Sunday Eucharistic collections of alms for the poor.
The one form, which probably arose from the conception of Yahweh as in an especial sense the protector of the poor, was that gifts to God may properly be bestowed on the needy, and that consequently alms have the virtue of a sacrifice.
In the summer of 1530 he went to London, where he received alms more abundantly than elsewhere.
In the first two centuries the rite is spoken of as an offering and as a bloodless sacrifice; but it is God's own creations, the bread and wine, alms and first-fruits, which, offered with a pure conscience, he receives as from friends, and bestows in turn on the poor; it is the praise and prayers which are the sacrifice.
By the ancient canons all monasteries were to spend at least a tenth part of their income in alms to the poor, and all bishops were required to keep almoners.
Monks or bonzes are very numerous; they live by alms and in return they teach the young to read, and superintend coronations, marriages, funerals and the other ceremonials which play a large part in the lives of the Cambodians.