Sister Rosemary Bucchi
When we hear “Works of Mercy” we think of what we learned during religious instruction — the Corporal and Spiritual Acts (or Works) of Mercy. These are practices which Christians perform and the Catholic Church refers to as both penance and charity.
Many of us are familiar with the list. The Corporal Works concern the physical needs of others, such as feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. The Spiritual Works of Mercy guide us to help our neighbor with their spiritual needs, things we often give less attention to doing. To instruct, advise, console, comfort, forgive and to bear wrongs patiently require more thought and giving of oneself than donating money for food and clothing, or visiting the sick. We often don’t recognize that the most important part of performing any act of mercy is prayer. Prayer that unites us with God changes the physical act of feeding the poor into a spiritual act that does good to another and gives glory to God. Jesus attended to the spiritual well-being of those He ministered to; for our lifestyles today performing Spiritual acts of mercy — sharing spirituality — seems especially appropriate.
We all encounter doubt in our faith journey. Yet we should always remember that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and turn to Him along the way. During Lent, learn more about our faith and be open to talking with others about your beliefs. Do not judge, but help others find their way and correct their mistakes. Together we can learn to walk more closely with Christ. Be open to listening and comforting others who are dealing with grief. Even if you aren’t sure of what to say, your presence can make a big difference. Forgiving others isn’t always easy; we do not have God’s limitless mercy and compassion. But Jesus teaches us that we should forgive as God forgives, so rely on Him to help you show others the mercy of God. Do not be bitter about wrongs done against you. Place your hope in God so that you can endure the troubles of this world and face them with a compassionate spirit.
Prayer is one of the most powerful ways we can support others. Joining together in prayer for the living and the dead entrusts us all into God’s care.
Reading the scriptures is a wonderful guide for life and show us what acts of Mercy we should do. Read Luke 6.
“Do for others what you want them to do for you.”
“Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.”