Every month, we suggest a Faith Practice which you and your home, school or parish community might like to take on as part of your commitment for the Year of Faith. It is our hope that these simple practices will stir in us the ‘renewed conversion of the Lord’ that Pope Benedict XVI calls for in Porta Fidei (n. 6).
Faith Practice of the Month for January: Performing Corporal Works of Mercy
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that ‘The Church’s love for the poor is … part of her constant tradition.’ This love is inspired by the Sacred Scripture, and by Jesus’ love and concern for the poor.
The Catechism goes on to define the corporal works of mercy as ‘… charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighour in his spiritual and bodily necessities’. It outlines these actions as:
- Feeding the hungry - Sheltering the homeless - Clothing the naked - Visiting the sick and imprisoned - Burying the dead
This month, inspired by the witness of St Francis and St Clare of Assisi and the many holy men and women who followed their example, consider undertaking some of the corporal works of mercy with your family. Ideas include:
- Volunteer to get involved with or donate to charities that provide meals and day-care facilities for people who are in need - Organise an event in your work, home or parish to support organisations that help the homeless - Clear out your wardrobe and donate any good quality clothes that you no longer want or need to charity - Make a visit to a relative or friend who is sick. Consider bringing a sacramental such as a bottle of holy water with you. - Support and pray for the work of chaplains in the Irish Prison Service - Browse the website of the Irish Centre for Faith and Justice and consider the issues commented upon - Be aware of the needs of those who are struggling to ‘bury the dead’ emotionally. Pay a visit to someone you know who is grieving at this time and offer him/her whatever support is needed.