Be mercy for the glory of God

Let’s continue our talk on being mercy. This article will focus on the Spiritual Works of Mercy and how they show us to help with the Spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters.

Admonish the sinner: This Work of Mercy is tough love and one of the most difficult to practice in our day. It’s not easy to correct someone nor is it easy for us to accept and realize that every once in a while we need to be corrected, as well. We fear too often that correcting others may lead to a loss of friendship. “Who are you to correct me? You’re no better than I” may be the responses directed back at us. This is tough love! Ask your parents about it, they’re experts at this tough love thing. What this Work of Mercy boils down to is that if you truly love someone and you see him do wrong don’t just sit back and do nothing. Show them what real love is and speak the truth in love. You can show your disapproval for that person’s actions in this way. Object to their use of foul language, but do it gently. Object to their wearing provocative clothing, but do it compassionately. Object to their use of pornography and drugs, but do it with courage that comes from the Spirit. That’s being mercy.

Instruct the ignorant: Teach the truth to all who do not know the truth. Being ignorant doesn’t make a person any less than others. It just means they need to learn. Aren’t we all ignorant of something? Of course we are. That’s where God’s gifts come in. We share with others our gifts and talents so that we all learn from one another. What about you? Do you commit yourself to learning about our Catholic faith and share your gifts and talents with others? If you can do these things and encourage others to do them as well, you are being mercy.

Counsel the doubtful: Give good advice. I’m sure there are people in your life who ask you for advice on matters of life. The best advice you can give is your own personal witness to Christ as His disciple. Be courageous, yet compassionate, in calling people to be faithful to Gospel values. Intervene in situations where people are harming themselves. Put an end to gossip and walk away. Stand up for those who are being bullied and seek help for those who bully. Set a good example for others. Be mercy where there is no mercy!

Bear wrongs patiently: Patience, patience, patience! What a great virtue, and gift, to have when someone hurts you and does you wrong. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Lk. 6:27-28). Be less critical of others, overlook minor flaws and give people the benefit of the doubt. Remember, someone who has hurt you may be enduring pain of his own. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Lk. 6:36).

Forgive wrongs willingly: Let go of grudges! Let go of any desire in your heart to seek vengeance. Life is too short! Go out of your way to be positive with someone you are having a difficult time with. Don’t curse the darkness, rather pray for those in darkness. This Work of Mercy doesn’t mean to let yourself be victimized. We must all protect ourselves and others from harm. We are all brothers and sisters, children of God. Father Mike Schmitz, from the Diocese of Duluth, describes this Work of Mercy: “One cannot be merciful unless she knows how much offering mercy will cost her — and still freely chooses to offer mercy. This is what it is to forgive offenses willingly.”

Comfort the sorrowful: This Work of Mercy is all about listening. Listen to those who are sad, troubled, in pain and in sorrow. Allow the Holy Spirit to work His gifts of understanding and counsel in you so you can comfort your troubled friend, or brother or sister. Be optimistic, offer hope and give your support. Empathize with the person, put yourself in their shoes and feel their pain so you can best know how to deal with it. Above all, be present to them. That alone, even without the spoken word, can comfort and heal. 

Pray for the living and the dead: We need to do more and more praying. We need to pray always. Focus your attention on the needs of others and pray for them. Become mercy to them and others will be mercy to you. One of my favorite daily prayers for the living and the dead is “The Fatima Prayer”: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls into Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.” Pray this daily!

The Works of Mercy are all acts of love; the love that brings peace to the world, the love that gives freedom to all people and the love that helps us to become servant to one another. The Works of Mercy show us how to be happy in this life. Do you want to be happy? Who doesn’t! Jesus tells us exactly how to do that in the Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt. 5:7). Let us aspire to be mercy to one another, all for the glory of God. 

God bless!

Anchor columnist Ozzie Pacheco is Faith Formation director at Santo Christo Parish, Fall River.

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