Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pope Francis and Works of Mercy

Most Catholic children are taught to some degree or another about the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Unfortunately, as with many other "lessons", there has been a disconnect of the matter at hand and the reasoning and/or benefits of such.

There is certainly not enough space or time in this little blog to give  a complete catechetical explanation, nor am I fully equipped to present such even if there were. However, I think it is helpful to point out that the exterior act of these works are initiated from the interior, from the Christian heart, always experiencing continuing conversion.

As the Christian continues on the path of conversion, he sees the world more and more through the eyes of God; a world in desperate need of God's mercy and love. How is the world to experience God's mercy and love if not through us?
Whoever confesses his sins . . . is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear "man" - this is what God has made; when you hear "sinner" - this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made. . . . When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light - St. Augustine
Here's a look at the works of mercy.

Corporal works of mercy:

  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead.

Spiritual works of mercy: 

  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive offences willingly
  • Pray for the living and the dead.

I have come to serve.

Pope Francis will be celebrating Holy Thursday Mass with the imprisoned at a juvenile detention center. Apparently, it has been his custom as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in prisons, hospitals, etc.


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