Sunday, April 7, 2019

Lent 2019: The Spiritual Works of Mercy in Our Time

In celebration of the Lenten season, I have shared about the 'Acts of Mercy' which Jesus Christ taught us by example during his time as a living son of God on earth.

Corporal Works of Mercy in Our Time is about showing compassion to those who may be suffering physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in these modern times and how we can help them live a dignified life and feeling the love, care, and support of fellow brothers in Christ. 

Corporal Works of Mercy is more on the physiological needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, but there are other Acts of Mercy that we called to practice and that is the Spiritual Works of Mercy; to purify our soul and uplift our spirit.

To instruct the ignorant and counsel the doubtful 

As Christian, we are being called to reach out to others to draw them closer to Jesus Christ. During our younger years, we used to attend a catechism study in our Parish. That was our first step in knowing and practicing the faith which was passed on to us by our parents and even our great grandparents as they have known the Christ before us.

In our society today, we may see a lot of street children, orphan and out-of-school youth who may not receive proper guidance and are the most vulnerable to exploitation and dangers. They may still be innocent and don't practice their spirituality since they may be abandoned and neglected by their elders. This may lead to doubts about their faith and the absence of Christ in their hearts.

At some point in our lives, we may have doubts about our faith when a painful event happens to us. Why me my Lord? This conflict in our spirituality may result in a deeper understanding and relationship with God as we strive to know deeply the mystery of his love and mercy.

Even Mother Teresa of Kolkata experienced a dark night of the soul when she expresses her doubts about her faith, however in the end she conquered this kind of spiritual conflict and continued her ways of serving and loving the poor who were abandoned and uncared. She left a legacy for us to overcome our doubts and remain to be faithful to Christ by letting people experience Divine love.

To Admonish the sinner

To give warning or reprimand someone for sinful acts may be a hard thing to do since we are all sinners and at some point have committed a sin and may be vulnerable to committing future sins in our lifetime. In short, who are we to judge?

But as Christian, we are called to protect our brothers and sisters who may be are lost and against the direction of Divine light. Yes, we are all sinner but that doesn't mean we can't lead others to correct their ways when they are fallen in the dark.

In today's time, we see children who are victims of peer pressure, lack good parenting and curiosity which makes them vulnerable to sin. They ended up showing bad behavior, a rebellious attitude, and being indifferent. This may be quite different from the previous generations when kids show the highest respect to the elders and are afraid to commit wrongful doings that are against family values. Parents just wanted to protect their children so that they will grow to have the right values and become a contributor in the society. Parents want their children to take the right path and to rescue them whenever they are at the crossroads of what is right and wrong.

To bear wrongs patiently and forgive offenses willingly

There may be times when we become impatient towards the wrongdoing of others and as human nature, it seems that taking revenge or hatred would justify our actions in return.

We may have been a victim of circumstances where our patience is being put to test; either we accept it or we fight for it. For instance, someone may have cut us in line. We may just let it happen and understand the person for whatever reasons he may have or we could confront and verbally reprimand and embarrass him. There are times we commit the same mistake without us knowing it, but others acted patiently on us without any harsh words received from them.

Also, we may encounter road rage and both sides seem to be aggressive just to prove his right. It may happen that when someone offended us our reaction would be to hurt that person even more just to get even and to protect our ego. This happens many times on the road causing public scandal and physical injuries.

Patience is indeed a virtue that we have to cultivate and practice and forgiveness is something more significant for our peace of mind and purity of the heart. It may be very difficult to forgive those who have wronged us, but we have to remember that as human beings we may have consciously or unconsciously hurt other people resulting in their emotional and mental suffering.

It is said that 'forgive and be forgiven and this is timeless wisdom that is relevant even in our time. We can forgive people, but how could we be forgiven by people whom we have wronged? I have learned that one of the steps in meditation is the forgiveness ritual on which we have to visualize that we are already forgiven by that someone. This two-way process of forgiving someone and asking for forgiveness gives lightness to our hearts and freedom from worries and fears.

To comfort the afflicted

There may be moments when we are put to test through suffering and pains. We ask God, why me? Yet, we are not alone in these trials since Jesus even asked, Father why have you forsaken me?

We may have been victims of circumstances like natural calamities and death of loved ones and heartaches resulting in loneliness, grief, and apathy. We may be experiencing setbacks and discomfort to fully understand and be compassionate with the sufferings of other people. We go through the same path and we feel their pains and sorrows.

In difficult times one way of giving comfort to those who are suffering is to walk with them to find their inner peace, thinking of their fate and offering a prayer. Then when they regain strength, they will be able to live a peaceful life and comfort other people who are wounded within and lost.

To pray for the living and the dead

Oftentimes our religious leaders would ask us to pray for them and even Pope Francis did it several times when the church has been exposed to scandals and issues that would test his leadership and faith.

There are also times when we offer our prayer to someone to ease his suffering or for whatever intentions they would want to receive. It is said that whatever you ask, it will be given to you. This may be a universal law and it doesn't fail to give us whatever we ask for through prayer.

Prayer beyond personal intentions requires humility and compassion when it is directed to others who are going through tough times. It is even a greater service
when we also pray for those who have passed away before us. Our dearly departed needs our prayer for them to be cleansed before entering their final resting place in heaven. We remember them in November on the celebration of all souls day and our prayers are what they need for their salvation.

On this Lenten season, we reflect on the teachings of Jesus Christ for us to have a deeper understanding and relationship with Him and to receive his glory. Through Acts of Mercy, we develop Christ-consciousness that will serve as our guide towards Divinely-inspired living today and beyond life on earth in eternity.

© 2019 Del Cusay