by Lesle Knop
My daughters gave up a day on a beautiful spring weekend during Lent to help clean out a closet that had accumulated the treasures of their high school and college years. This poor closet was so packed with prom dresses, sweaters, coats, school uniforms, team T-shirts, graduation gowns and wedding dresses that the rods were drooping.
Piled on the shelves were boxes of trinkets, stuffed toys, and photo albums filled with memories of good friends and happy times.
The girls filled seven huge bags with good clothing and items to share with others as I happily rocked a grandbaby and watched, listened, laughed, and remembered. As I rocked, my faith grew. The Lord’s goodness was everywhere.
“God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others” (2 Cor 9:8).
Stewards of God’s many gifts know in their hearts that God’s generosity can never be equaled. The Lord provides for all of our needs so that we can spend time growing in godliness. The world values things. Heaven values our character.
God gives generously to us so that we will, in turn, give to others. I think he’s calling us to give more than cast-off clothing, though. How about compassion? Let’s give mercy and tenderness, visit the sick, feed the hungry and perform the corporal works of mercy. How about forgiveness? Let’s give a listening ear, a kind word and perform the spiritual works of mercy.
The Corporal Works of Mercy:
- Feed the hungry
- Give drink to the thirsty
- Clothe the naked
- Shelter the homeless
- Visit the sick
- Visit the imprisoned
- Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy:
- Admonish the sinner
- Instruct the ignorant (This and the next work are extremely pertinent categories today, when so many people are confused by what the church teaches on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, etc.)
- Counsel the doubtful
- Comfort the sorrowful
- Bear wrongs patiently
- Forgive all injuries
- Pray for the living and the dead
Throughout Lent, we focused our attention on our prayer life, our fasting and our almsgiving. Now it’s Easter and time to refresh. Renew. Recycle! We have been blessed with our Catholic faith. Let’s share it with others.
God provides everything we need, including the ability to perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. These works of mercy illustrate the intangible ways that we show charity to others. Are they hidden away in a closet of our own making? Easter is a good time to dust them off and put them to better use.