Matthew 25 – Life, Charity and Justice Newsletter: Works of Mercy

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Works of Mercy

Pope Francis Year of mercy

Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. ….What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matt. 25:40, 44-46)

The Jubilee Year of Mercy

Pope Francis has declared that the Universal Catholic Church will observe a Jubilee Year of Mercy from December 8, 2015, to November 20, 2016. He wants the year to be a time for Catholics to contemplate just how merciful God has been to them and to understand better how they are called to be merciful to others in turn.

Jesus’ message of mercy shines all through the Gospels, challenging society and the law to see the divine justice present in mercy. The Pope wrote: “How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God. May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the kingdom of God is already present in our midst.” (Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis, 2015, #5)

Pope Francis urged us Catholics to spend more time practicing what traditionally have been called the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Lent in this Jubilee Year

(From Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2016)

“God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbor and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged. ….

For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favorable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practicing the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated.”

The Works of Mercy

Spreading God’s mercy is central to the mission of the Catholic Church. The Church calls on us to reach out to the broken in body and spirit. The works of mercy are a very simple, concrete, direct, alive, daily, easy, and accessible to all ways of living our everyday life as disciples of Jesus.

“The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2447).

 

Suggestions for Practicing the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy

  1. Mother-Teresa-for-Works-of-Mercy-BlogFeed the hungry:

Learn about hunger issues at the Lenten Soup Supper hosted by ACT on Fri. Feb. 26;

Bring non-perishable food in the church to the Sunday for the Poor Drive on the 1st Sunday of the month;

Go to help at the Soup Kitchen on Friday afternoons with ACT (www.aggiecatholic.org/actservices).

  1. Give drink to the thirsty:

Support humanitarian organizations dedicated to bring access to clean water to all, especially the poor in rural areas around the world (www.lifewater.org, www.crs.org).

  1. Clothe the naked:

Bring your unused new or gently used cotton t-shirts to the collection boxes at St. Mary’s during Social Justice Week (Feb 20-28) to help the poor of Chinandega city dump in Nicaragua;

Go through your drawers and closets and find good-condition clothes and shoes to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store (you can leave your donations in the hallway across room 101 to be brought to the SVdP donation center).

  1. Shelter the homeless:

Support the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Bryan/College Station by putting some money in Poor Box at the entrance of the Church or by participating to the Stampede for Need 5K fun run/walk on Sat. Feb. 27 (www.aggiecatholic.org/stampede4need);

Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or participate to their Run for the House 5K fun run or 2K Walk on Sat. March 5, raising money for the Interfaith Build (www.raceroster.com/events/2016/7795/run-for-the-house).

  1. Visit the sick:

Take the time to call, send a card or an e-mail to someone of your family or friends who is sick;

Volunteer to a nursing home or to help preparing meals for homebound for Meals-on-Wheels with ACT (www.aggiecatholic.org/actservices).

  1. Visit the imprisoned:

Join the prison ministry offering weekly services to inmates at the jail in Bryan (www.aggiecatholic.org/jail-ministry);

Pray and advocate for the abolition of the death penalty (www.tcadp.org).

  1. Bury the dead:

Offer daily prayers for those with terminal illnesses and for those who have died.

Suggestions for Practicing the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy

  1. Counsel the doubtful:

Respond to negative and prejudicial comments with positive statements;

Put an end to gossip by walking away; set a good example for others.

Volunteer for the Bible Study at the Mission with ACT (www.aggiecatholic.org/actservices).

  1. Instruct the ignorant:

Commit yourself to learning about the Catholic faith, and share your understanding of the faith with others and with those who welcome it;

Become a mentor to a younger sibling, with Big Brother Big Sister (www.brazosmentor.org) or at school with the Bryan ISD Volunteer Program.

  1. Admonish the sinner:

Be courageous yet compassionate in calling people and institutions to be faithful to Gospel values;

Intervene in situations in which people are clearly doing harm to themselves or others.

  1. Comfort the afflicted:

Offer words of encouragement to those who seem discouraged;

Be present to those who are struggling or in emotional pain or despair;

Volunteer at The Elizabeth House Maternity Home with ACT (www.aggiecatholic.org/actservices).

  1. Forgive offences:

Pray for those who have wronged you and pray for the courage to forgive;

Ask forgiveness from others;

Let go of grudges.

  1. Bear wrongs patiently:

Work at being less critical of others and overlook minor flaws and mistakes;

Give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that people who may have hurt you did so because they are enduring pain of their own;

Pray for those who have wronged you.

  1. Pray for the living and the dead:

Offer daily prayers for those with terminal illnesses and for those who have died.

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)

 

St. Mary’s Social Justice Week – February 20 to 27 www.aggiecatholic.org/social-justice-week

Care for Our Common Home

“We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 2016, #139)

Pope Francis calls each one of us to take actions. Act now by joining this week activities:

All week: Project T-shirt Share, drive for unused new or gently used cotton t-shirts or polos for Nicaragua (ACT);

Sun. Feb. 21, 4 pm, room 201: Presentation on Pope Francis’ Environmental Encyclical, Laudato Si

Wed. Feb. 24, 6:30 pm, AC: Presentation by special guests Haley & Daniel Stewart: Faith, Family, and Farming on Striving for the Opposite of the Throwaway Culture. (Hosted by ACT)

Fri. Feb. 26, 7 pm, AC: Soup Supper (ACT)

Sat. Feb. 27, 9 am, Central Park: Stampede for Need 5K fun run, benefitting the St. Vincent de Paul Society (ACT)

 

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