Spiritual works of mercy – a response to the grace of Our Holy Father’s Visit
Mission, Conference 292:2121.1 MB8-
Discerning our response to the Mercy of God in Our Holy Father’s visit….
prayer,personal conversion,works of mercy.
Why are we rarely hearing at Mass about the spiritual works of mercy?
Why do we hear more about corporal works of mercy? Yes, we need to do both, but….
Who are the poorest of the poor?
Look to Blessed Mother Teresa to see exactly how the two aspects work together. Start with Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Works done without having the intention of love of God are empty works. With the love of God as our motive and intention, every little thing done has immense value.
One reason we do not hear about the spiritual works of mercy in our parishes is that we would sound politically incorrect if we state that we have the fulness of the truth in our Catholic faith.
That is perhaps, one reason among many. Another might be the parish may be too focused on the financial needs and putting adoration of God lower on the list of priorites of how to use the 15 minutes a week most Catholics attempt to listen to the Church.
Certainly, opening our hearts in compassion and our wallets with cash will enable God’s grace to get into our self-centered lives… but when that crack into the hard selfish heart is made–why not take best advantage of the opportunity to teach the fullness of the Faith?
Works of mercy till the ground so the seed can be planted.
To stop at only encouraging material generosity is to fail to lovingly tend the sheep.
God desires to show us His Mercy.
God is looking for excuses to save us.
In His love and mercy
God sends His prophets to call His people to penance and reform.
(Listen to the Holy Father. He is sent to us by God to teach us what we need to know right now in order to know and do our part at this time in history.)
When the people choose to follow God in loving obedience, corrections and chastisements can be averted or minimized.
People who hear God’s plea and choose to love and obey God have the responsibility to
work with God starting first with their own (ongoing) conversion of life.
In some cases, the best form of fraternal correction is providing a good example, and silently accepting the ways some respond badly to it as it troubles their conscience. Also, providing an example of how to turn to God when we fall from His grace, rather than justify our errors by continuing in them.
Not all are called to teach and preach by their words. Pray for those who are thus called. It is an immense burden and responsibilty for them. In fact, it is often hard to live up to the level of what our words teach. If we emphasize living by doing what is right, even when we are judged by some to be evil for it, it is a much safer path to follow. Praise and human respect are very dangerous. Bears wrongs patiently. Forgive Injuries.
Most of the time, we will not be flattered and lauded by others. Most of the time we will be criticized. If we bear it in silence (not arrogance- because we ourselves may fall at any moment if God chooses to leave us to ourselves alone to teach us what we are without HIM) forgiving, and praying for those whose conscience may be feeling something painful to them then GOD will teach them and open their eyes and ears to hear HIM (not us).
Love of Neighbor: The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Building up your spiritual life and developing good habits is a necessity for us all. The Church enables us on this mission by providing a list of charitable works of mercy that help us increase our love of neighbor and improve the state of our soul.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are (CCC 2447):
Convert the Sinner.
Of course, the Holy Spirit actually does the converting, but we participate by pointing those we know toward God.
Instruct the Ignorant.
This assumes that we are not ignorant – it puts the burden of learning on us, so we can instruct those who have misconceptions about God.
Counsel the Doubtful.
Love of others starts with concern for their souls. By helping others have faith, we increase our faith.
Comfort the Sorrowful.
In a fallen world, there is much sorrow. By taking the time to comfort those who grieve and suffer, we help them to see God in the world.
Bear Wrongs Patiently.
This is perhaps the toughest issue for most of us, but it goes directly to Christ: Turn the other cheek.
Not only must we bear wrongs and injuries, we must forgive those who inflict them on us. True forgiveness requires work on our own soul and a solid love of God.
Pray for the Living and the Dead.
This is an easier work and requires just time – take a minute in your daily prayer to pray for those who have died and those who struggle for God (or don’t)!