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When someone offers his property to God, let him offer it not as with the boldness of one who gives a gift but with the humility of one who pays a debt. 

Almsgiving does not absolve all sins; it merely mitigates them. So, offer your almsgiving not as one buying his salvation but as a duty of supplication.

Almsgiving, even if you give up all, is not paying the whole debt, but merely a small part of it. So, when offering all to God, lament that your offering is little and late.

Should you give all? No. The amount is unimportant. It is how you give. You must give with faith, with humble entreaty, with prayer, with the intention that what you give is merely returning to God what is His, with the thought that what is with God is more profitable for you than what is left in this world.

Do you really know how much is needed to compensate for your sins? If not, then offer as much as you can. If you have little to offer, then at least offer with devotion and piety. Because there are things you should not and cannot give, be generous in what you can give.

"Redeem your sins by alms." i.e. pay the price for your sins. You alone know how much you owe. If you think it is not necessary to give up all because of your few sins, don't do so. But, think well. Your lies, cursing, perjury, carelessness in thoughts, foulness of speech, evil wishes and desires; then there are your adultery, fornication, impurities, uncleanness and avarice. Have you paid for all of these? And this is only for the redemption of your sins. How about the things you still have to do for your salvation?

It is difficult even for young people to work out the redemption of their sins; much more so for the older, and most difficult for one in his last moments, even amidst great liberality. So, never presume anything. For Scripture tells us what to do but the procurement of forgiveness is ". . .perhaps." And so, a sinner who wises to obtain forgiveness from God at a late hour must be engaged in copious liberality.

St. Salvian, Book 1







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