Brian Durocher led focusing on follow-up of the previous week’s discussion of discipleship and exploration of the question, “What is God calling me (or us) to do?”
We spent some time on Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Here is a summary from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 2447 on Page 588. Interestingly, it is found in the article about the 7th Commandment, “You shall not steal.” I also copied and pasted at the end of this post the references from Sacred Scripture indicated by the footnotes 241, 242, and 243. These Bible references found throughout the Catechism were helpful to me when reading the Catechism, as a Lutheran, for the first time.
2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.241 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. the corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.242 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:243
You may notice that the list above from the Catechism includes only six spiritual acts of mercy and five or six or maybe seven corporal acts of mercy depending on how one counts. Is visiting the sick and imprisoned one or two? As mentioned during the discussion, there are lists that have seven of each, but I suppose they are unofficial lists. Here is a screen shot of a list I found at NewAdvent.org. There is more explanation at the link.
Related Stuff from the Catechism
Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were also mentioned during the discussion, and that reminded me of a chart I created a few years ago and published in 2010 on my blog. Below are my chart and the comments I had about it. Well, lots of major improvement opportunities for me. Good confession guide maybe.
A few times I have used the Boy Scout Law, (“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”) as a good list of desirable traits for one to develop. Somewhere this week I saw something about a list of virtues, Googled that, and found that The Catholic Church lists seven virtues, three of them “theological” and four “cardinal.” One thing led to another and next thing I knew I was toying around with a chart to display the virtues, gifts of the Holy Spirit, fruits of the Holy Spirit, and even the seven “capital” sins, all as taught in the Catholic Catechism. This is what I came up with. Actually that Boy Scout Law is a pretty good list summarizing the virtues, gifts, and fruits. Putting the Grace of God in the center just seemed like a good idea to me.
What Should We Do as a Group?
We closed with discussion about what the Men’s Prayer Group can do jointly to respond to this responsibility of disciples for Acts of Mercy. We can help as many did with the Salvation Army Christmas Fund Raising. We could volunteer as a group for a Home Works of America project. We could (fill in the blank.)
Oh, and by the way, here is the information requested about German Siding.
Below are the Bible references in the Catechism Paragraph 2447 quoted above.
241 – Isaiah 58:6-7 This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; 7 Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.
242 – Matthew 25:31-46 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32 and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44 Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
243 – Tobit 4:5-11 5 “Through all your days, my son, keep the Lord in mind, and suppress every desire to sin or to break his commandments. Perform good works all the days of your life, and do not tread the paths of wrongdoing. 6 For if you are steadfast in your service, your good works will bring success, not only to you, but also to all those who live uprightly. 7 “Give alms from your possessions. Do not turn your face away from any of the poor, and God’s face will not be turned away from you. 8 Son, give alms in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, distribute even some of that. But do not hesitate to give alms; 9 you will be storing up a goodly treasure for yourself against the day of adversity. 10 Almsgiving frees one from death, and keeps one from going into the dark abode. 11 Alms are a worthy offering in the sight of the Most High for all who give them.
243 – Sirach 17:22 22 Who in the nether world can glorify the Most High in place of the living who offer their praise?
243 – Matthew 6:2-4 2 When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4 so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.