By S. Ann Helene Koenig
As Jesus walked the earth, He spoke about the Corporal Works of Mercy, using them to motivate us to reach out to others in need. He used them as a model to teach us how to treat others.
With the COVID-19 virus in full swing, it may be difficult for us to reach out to others or to find ways to be of service to those in need. How can we give food to others, clothe them, visit others, show compassion to the sick and perform works of mercy if we are housebound, wearing a mask or staying six feet away from others?
Recently, while waiting for surgery and then going through a period of recuperation, I experienced the kindness and thoughtfulness of others as they used the telephone to call me, sent little messages and cards through the mail, or sent emails on the computer. What beautiful and practical ways to visit the sick…a Corporal Work of Mercy! Our telephones are easily accessible and many of us know how to send an email. Just taking the time to ask someone how they are feeling is a corporal work of mercy.
During these last 11 months, my ministry of visiting those in nursing homes has changed from in person visits to others to calling them on the phone, sending them cards, notes and emails and doing the same for their families.
With a little imagination and creativity, performing works of mercy can be a way to show God’s love and concern for others in need, not only during the season of Lent but all through the year.
Photo – Wrapped in her Buffalo Bills blanket, Sister Ann Helene makes phone calls to the nursing home residents she visited before the pandemic closed them to visitors.
Visiting the Sick Virtually
Here are a few ways you can visit the sick from a distance and some tips for making it a good visit:
- If possible, use technology that allows you to see each other — FaceTime or a videoconferencing software like Zoom or Skype.
- If all you have is a telephone that works fine, too!
- Keep calls short and upbeat.
- Sending cards and notes through the mail in between calls helps keep the connection