Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On December 8th, the Catholic Church passed through the doors of Christ’s mercy as we began our pilgrimage through the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This will be a demanding journey for us all, but one we will take together.
The Father did not send His Son to us in the form of a warrior or a judge, or even as a teacher or a priest, but as a little baby. Even when we are at our hard-headed and hard-hearted worst, we can’t help but soften our sentiments as we approach this Infant God. This is how God’s mercy works. He becomes small so that His mercy can become as big as possible in our lives. We then share His overflowing mercy with our neighbors, especially through performance of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy* and other merciful acts.
During this Year of Mercy, I would like to focus our attention in a special way on two humble groups in our parish: the Legion of Mary and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. While we have a variety of fine fraternal, educational and spiritual groups in our parish, these two groups should stand out for us throughout this jubilee year. Both were founded not primarily for the sake of their respective members, but to humbly administer the overflowing mercy of God to those most in need of His merciful care.
In our parish, the Legion of Mary, re-established here at the prompting of Bishop Kurtz, meets weekly to pray, study, report and plan works of mercy. I’ve asked our Legion of Mary members to focus on three works of mercy in particular: visiting the sick in area rest homes, welcoming the stranger by delivering “Welcome Baskets” to new parishioners, and counseling the doubtful by promoting a culture of life.
In our parish, we now have a conference of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, established at the prompting of Bishop Stika, which forms its members worldwide into agents of God’s mercy for those who suffer from poverty, sickness and disaster. Our SSVdP conference focuses on one primary work of mercy: humbly giving food to the hungry through the Saint Joseph Food Pantry apostolate.
I encourage each of you to prayerfully consider joining one of these two groups, either as a full member or as an auxiliary member. Even if you already belong to one of our other organizations, I encourage you to ask God about these two instruments of Divine Mercy. Then, trust His guidance and willingly do whatever He asks you. In our busy lives, it seems there’s never enough time to do all we need to do, but God provides us just enough time to do whatever He needs us to do, especially when it comes to spreading His mercy.
Have a merciful Christmas!
The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy:
1. Feed the hungry.
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked.
4. Shelter the traveler.
5. Visit the sick.
6. Visit the imprisoned.
7. Bury the dead.
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy:
1. Counsel the doubtful.
2. Instruct the ignorant.
3. Admonish sinners.
4. Comfort the afflicted.
5. Forgive offenses.
6. Bear wrongs patiently.
7. Pray for the living and the dead.
Las Siete Obras de Misericordia Corporales:
1. Visitar y cuidar a los enfermos.
2. Dar de comer al hambriento.
3. Dar de beber al sediento.
4. Dar posada al peregrino.
5. Vestir al desnudo.
6. Redimir al cautivo.
7. Enterrar a los muertos.
Las Siete Obras de Misericordia Espirituales:
1. Enseñar al que no sabe.
2. Dar buen consejo al que lo necesita.
3. Corregir al que yerra.
4. Perdonar las injurias.
5. Consolar al triste.
6. Sufrir con paciencia los defectos de los demás.
7. Rogar a Dios por vivos y difuntos.