It’s been a few weeks since I published, mostly because the baby’s sleep patterns changed again and I lost my time to blog. Anyway, jumping in for the Just Enough Info linkup, hosted over at Sweeping Up Joy.
1. What did you do (or can in these last few weeks!) to mark the year?
We prayed and went through the Holy Door at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Since it’s the month of the Holy Souls, it’s easy to finish off the Year of Mercy with prayers for the dead.
2. What Work of Mercy is easiest or most challenging for you?
Easiest are definitely the ones I can do for my family. Feed the hungry, cloth the naked (even when they resist!), instruct the ignorant (we homeschool). And also making meals, donating clothes, praying for sinners and the dead, these are fairly easy.
But I struggle with some. Forgiveness, that’s a hard one, especially for those things that annoy me every. single. day. Extending mercy to those closest to me, especially through forgiveness and patience, is very challenging.
Also, a quick note on “sheltering the homeless.” Most lists of the corporal works of mercy look like this:
- To feed the hungry.
- To give drink to the thirsty.
- To clothe the naked.
- To shelter the homeless.
- To visit the sick.
- To visit the imprisoned.
- To bury the dead.
The corporal works of mercy are basically taken from Matthew 25:34-26, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'”
“Shelter the homeless” is the one work not found in this passage. A little research reveals that traditionally, the fourth work was “welcome the stranger.” I think welcoming the stranger much better captures the spirit and intention of this work of mercy. It can encompass providing shelter for the homeless, but its scope is much more broad. If we start to reflect on ways to welcome the stranger, we can begin to recapture the virtue of hospitality, which was once a prominent virtue in the ancient and medieval world, but which has been largely lost in the modern day. Welcoming the stranger includes many things, from talking to a new family at church, to bringing a meal to a young mom, to inviting over friends even when your house isn’t perfectly clean, or talking to someone new at the park or library.
Maybe *one day* I’ll write a post on this, but I just wanted to mention it, in case you’ve wondered about or struggled with this work of mercy too.
3. Do you have a story of mercy in your own life to share? Or do you have a favourite saint/quote/resource about mercy to pass along?
Going to Confession is, I believe, the most important way we come face to face with God’s mercy. I often struggle to go every month, and more often just doesn’t happen. But I am blessed with a husband who is very devoted to this sacrament, and he encourages me, even when I don’t feel like going. His example of frequent, devotional confession really inspires me, and apparently inspires others too. He is a Catholic high school teacher, and the chaplain says that when confession is offered for religion classes (not required, of course, but the opportunity is given during class time), his class has the highest percentage of students who go.
I will close with this quote from St. Therese, coloring page courtesy of Do Small Things with Love.