Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Works of Mercy

Allow me to ramble a bit . . .

From the Baltimore Catechism:  "The spiritual and corporal works of mercy are acts of love which we show to Christ in the members of His Mystical Body.  Whatever we do for a member of the Body of Christ, we do for Christ."

The corporal works of mercy are "acts of love which come from the heart to help our neighbor in his bodily needs."
  1. Feed the hungry.
  2. Give drink to the thirsty.
  3. Clothe the naked.
  4. Visit the imprisoned.
  5. Shelter the homeless.
  6. Visit the sick.
  7. Bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are "acts of love toward our neighbor to help him in the needs of his soul."
  1. Admonish the sinner.
  2. Instruct the ignorant.
  3. Counsel the doubtful.
  4. Comfort the sorrowful.
  5. Bear wrongs patiently.
  6. Forgive all injuries.
  7. Pray for the living and the dead.
I've always been more Martha than Mary, so I'm naturally drawn to corporal mercies.  That sort of hands-on, hospitality driven work isn't always easy, but it suits me.

I've been thinking about this subject lately because a friend of mine recently set an inspiring example.  She drove to another state to care for another friend undergoing her first round of chemotherapy.  M spent days away from home ministering to a family in need.  (BTW, this amazing woman and her family were one of the first reasons I considered homeschooling; just watching their lives made me want to try to be like them!)

I still remember a talk Elizabeth gave many years ago, during which she pointed out how parenting babies and toddlers requires many corporal works of mercy, while teens need us spiritually.  Maybe that's why I believe I'm a better parent of little ones.  Cleaning and feeding can be exhausting, but is relatively simple.
 
To admonish the sinner and instruct the ignorant, in love, takes patience, strength, and grace.  If I am to counsel the doubtful, I'd better know my faith and be steeped in it on a personal level.  Raising teens has also proven that I need a thicker skin, the better to bear wrongs patiently and forgive all injuries.  Not that they're so mean, but that I must not take offense so easily.

Anyway--these random thoughts that have been on my mind lately--thanks for reading along!

1 comment:

Melissa G said...

Your family's witness is one that continues to inspire me, Barbara.