The Holy Father has beautifully directed our attention this year on Mercy. By reflection of the incredible events of the plan of salvation — that God sent his only Son to us, out of mercy and love for us — we are able to have a glimpse of what we are called to do as Christians. We sometimes think “this is too much for me, I am not cut out to be that good.” But the truth is that we are all called to be like Christ. And more importantly, that by doing so, we are not only participating in God’s saving plan, but we experience a foretaste of what awaits us in Heaven. It is the experience of many in helping professions, and those who regularly volunteer in programs that serve the poor, the incarcerated, the sick — that by giving we are the ones who receive.
I’ve called all of us to focus on this idea of concrete (corporal, through our own bodies, our own hands) acts of mercy. Here is a summary, in the words of Pope Francis:
Ways to live out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in your daily life: Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty. Clothe the naked. Shelter the homeless. Visit the sick. Visit the imprisoned. Bury the dead. Counsel the doubtful. Instruct the ignorant. Comfort the afflicted. Forgive offenses. Bear wrongs patiently. Pray for the living and the dead.
I ask every parishioner, and every parish group, to focus as a group or individual, on planning and executing a mission of mercy. Raise money for the poor (these funds will be married with what the parish offers and given to local charity), visit someone in a nursing home and read a story or play music, go to see someone in prison, have a food drive, pray a novena for someone or something, the list is endless. Pray about it, and LISTEN to what God calls you to do.
May God inspire you to express his love and Divine Mercy for all his Creation this Season of Lent.
Fondly, Fr. Christopher