This morning, as I prepared to begin my day, a prevailing quote from my childhood came back to me: “to whom much is given, much is expected.” As I thought about that quote, I reflected on how each and every single one of us are given an awesome responsibility – to each other. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, by virtue of being alive, we are given one huge blessing and responsibility. Because we have been blessed with life, we are each called to give of ourselves.
Several of the books I am currently reading are reflecting on the theme of Mercy. One those books, Beautiful Mercy: Experiencing God’s Unconditional Love So We Can Share It With Others, released by Dynamic Catholic, shares insights from various Catholic authors about meeting the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
In this book, Christopher West writes on pages 39-40:
The Latin word for mercy, misericordia, means “a heart which gives itself to those in misery.”. . . Ministers of mercy are those willing to enter into the pain and misery of people’s lives, touch their wounds, and surprise them with tender, healing love.
When I read that specific passage about mercy, my thoughts immediately leapt to our current social climate in this country. And, it bolstered my early morning belief that, by simply being alive, we are called to give much of ourselves.
As humans, we are called to see our neighbors and community members as fellow humans, and regardless of spiritual belief, live by the Golden Rule found in Matthew 22:36-39:
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
The call to live a merciful life touches on the corporal (physical) senses and the spiritual senses of humanity. As a Catholic mom, there are a couple nice checklists that can be found at Divine Mercy for Moms which give tangible ways to achieve both the Corporal Works of Mercy and the Spiritual Works of Mercy.
As a Christian, these physical and spiritual works of mercy are also a good guide to living by the Golden Rule. Furthermore, when I contemplate being more merciful, and hence loving, toward my neighbor, I have been thinking about how much time I am listening to my neighbor – truly hearing what they are saying. In order to meet their needs, and to be loving toward them, it is incumbent upon me as a Christian, to fully understand and hear what they need.
As these thoughts were swirling through my head, I happened upon an article written by a fellow blogger. Amy, at Prayer Wine Chocolate, discusses St. Katharine Drexel, and how St. Katharine Drexel is the patron saint for social justice causes. As a social worker, this post really piqued my interest. I also really liked the simple prayer Amy included at the end of her article.
As I continue to search for ways to incorporate the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy into my life, I ask you join me in praying the following prayer, for our country.
Perhaps, with a little more mercy in our world, we will see more social justice and less upheaval become apparent throughout our great country.
Ever-loving God, you called Saint Katharine Drexel to teach the message of the Gospel and to bring the life of the Eucharist to the Black and Native American peoples.
By her prayers and example, enable us to work for justice.
Draw us all into the Eucharistic Community of your Church, that we may be one in you.
Help us to remove each others’ pain;
Help us to hear and listen to one another;
Help us to understand each other and Your will for all of us.
Help us to live in harmony with one another.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.