Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Revelation....

I can't remember where I saw it, but it was on some web page. There was a poll being conducted about the Church's Corporal Works of Mercy. The question was something along the lines of this:

Which corporal work of mercy do you do most often?

Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Visit those in prison
Bury the dead

I glanced at the list and initially thought to myself, "Gee, my husband and I don't do any of those things like we should." I didn't answer the poll; I just thought about how I needed to make time for more spiritual commitments in my life. But upon further reflection and after reading an excerpt out of the book, "Life-Giving Love" written by Kimberly Hahn I realized that maybe my husband and I WERE participating in the corporal works of mercy more than I thought.....a mother/father's corporal work of mercy:

I was...

hungry: We made a great bbq chicken dinner for the kids, made a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the neighbor kids playing outside.
thirsty: Made sure that the boys had plenty of water for their baseball practices; and lemonade after playing outside with friends
naked: We dressed the kids in their play clothes today, did a couple of loads of laundry so their clothes were clean and fresh smelling; wrapped those naked bodies in a fresh towel after their bath...oooh they smell so good!
a stranger: I am welcoming a new child into my womb; preparing the baby room; we are planning for his/her arrival
in prison: I encouraged a friend who is going through many emotional changes in her life and family; she just needed someone to listen.

Sometimes we moms and dads get bogged down with mundane tasks that make us feel as if we are not doing enough for God, but there are seasons of life for everything, and right now...a path to holiness with God lies not within how much we are doing for others, but how much we are doing for our children, our spouse, and the "stranger" who is about to knock on our door in September.

2 comments:

Mom Nancy said...

I read something like that years ago in a CCL Family Foundations. Whoever wrote it said that caring for children requires all the corporal works of mercy. The prison one was likened to helping a child who is "imprisoned" in a little body who needs help doing something. It does make me feel better when I feel like I'm not doing enough. Then I remember I wasn't called to be Mother Theresa or Padre Pio. I was called to be a mom.

Michael said...

One of the things my mom did unintentionally was show me at an early age what corporal works of mercy were. As a stay at home mom with only two kids, she used her time to serve a lady named Fern.

Fern was old, though I'm not sure how old since anyone over the age of 14 seemed like an adult to someone who was 8 or 9. She lived in a two room (kitchen and living room/bedroom) apartment in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. She must have been disabled in some way because my mom would do her grocery shopping for her.

I must have been off school or something because I remember going with her one time. The smell in the hallway was overpowering and I started to gag involuntarily. My mom, being kind, told me it was OK But, either instinctivly or because of my mom's example, I knew gagging wasn't an appropriate response to the smell because, one, it wasn't polite, and two, because it diminished the dignity of all the people who were living there, not just Fern.

The apartment was overrun with roaches and when offered a seat I took it despite all the bugs running around. At 8, I'm not sure if I understood the special stigma roaches carry or if I just thought they were bugs.

My mom would always say we were very rich because we didn't have to worry about our needs. As a teenager I couldn't deny it because I remembered Fern.

These days I go to church in that Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, and like you, am not sure I am doing enough.

Well, use this story however you want. All I really wanted to do with was show how I was impacted by a work of mercy as a kid. I just realized I'm late for church!!!!

Take care.