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Join us in reading this new book by a woman who determined to do the Corporal Works of Mercy during Lent. We will post your sharing about the book and your attempts to do the Works of Mercy this Lent.
Kerry Weber is a
We invite you to read this delightful book during Lent and to send us the graces you receive, chapter by chapter. We also encourage anyone to send us your experience of trying to perform the Corporal Works of Mercy this Lent. We will post those reflections on this web site, so that we can all be blessed by our Lenten journey together.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Harbour the harbourless
Visit the sick
Ransom the captive
Bury the dead
May our Lord bless us all this Lent, that we might strive to hear the cry of the poor and act with mercy.
The Latest Sharing:
"How do I make Lent work for me?" And "How do I let God work through me?" These are the two questions for which I'm praying for guidance. This Lent jist 4days in is already proving to me extremely different from the past. Reading, reflecting and sharing on this book has made a significant difference to me thus far.
I have started this book and retreat with the full intention of giving it my full attention in reading and hopefully practice the works of mercy daily. Today which is the Friday after Ash wednesday I happen to be sitting in Church getting ready for mass when a woman sits in the same pew and then becomes preoccupied with the book that I took to Church. As the mass ends she introduces herself and asks about the book….I explain the MercyRetreat and some info about Creighton University and write the website on the back of an envelope for Haiti relief that was going to be my charitable giving for this season of Lent. She tells me she is not computer savvy and that her daughter will do it once she recovers from her pending surgery. I ask for her daughter's name, give her my rosary so that she realizes my pledge to pray for her daughter and then just give her my copy of Mercy in the City. I was concerned about how practical I would be in living out the works of mercy and Christ gave me an ample opportunity to speak to someone who was lonely, needed a listening ear and some prayers for herself and her ill daughter and then I felt nudged to just give her the book. I have asked her to take the retreat for me. She agreed and she promised to make a donation to the Haiti Relief in my name….Thank you Lord for the wonderful encounter and the practice of the works of mercy that I was graced to practice and that this woman practiced in return to me! Her daughter's name is Susan and I am sure she would not mind if we all prayed for her.
God never ceases to surprise and amaze me. Thank you Lord!
My "practice" of Lent as I have matured over the years, is to use Lent as a focused time to "practice" something that I could then make a part of my life for the rest of my life. It started with saving my spare change for Lent. I then sent the total I'd saved to a guy I was writing to in prison. (Writing has been my way of visiting those in prison, because there are none within a reasonable distance of where I live).
I have just finished chapter 2. When Kerry talks about the drawbacks of trying to do the works of mercy, I felt a connection because I am always wanting to be the person God wants me to be, but at the same time not sure if I can measure up. It is silly I know, but a real fear. Mostly I think what he wanrts ia that I be in the moment and see what is going on around me and be someones reason to smile. We all need to know we are seen and heard, that we are part of where we live and play. I think if I am more in the moment I will be better equiped to see what needs to be done. At least that is my plan for this week. I will be back with a report. This could be the best Lent in 65 years!
I’m a diabetic so fasting is not an option for me, but I can abstain. Instead I decided to fast from my guilty pleasures like celebrity news sites, magazines and television shows which consume a lot of time but are just mindless entertainment to escape from dealing with stress or some difficult issue. Instead, I’m using the time to focus on prayer, reading the Bible, this book and reflecting on my Lenten journey. Yesterday I gave the homeless man who I pass everyday on my way to work a sandwich. I used to avoid eye contact with him before this. But as Kerry said ‘we can do more’. I continue to pray that God will open my heart to ‘more’.
The grace of reading chapters 1 to 3 is a conviction that the spiritual life is always new and beckoning. After 60 years as a professed religious Sister of Mercy, it is inspiring to me to be along on this journey.
In Chapter 5, Kerry talks about her initial experience of working on a bread line. She admitted some frustration with those in line who were breaking the rules when it came to receiving seconds. I sometimes find myself having a knee jerk reaction to what is in front of me before I can catch myself to get to a place that might be called compassion. Most of us, myself included, do not know what it is and feels like to be truly hungry. What I have seen from doing some mission work is those in need, tend to share more and be more generous, than not. So, one family member receiving a small package of crackers, does not eat them all but makes sure the other brothers and sister have some. This could reframe those getting seconds and maybe even thirds from the bread line. Those extras may be the only food another person has for the day and one brother could just be looking after another. My other thought was regarding the individuals who may be more invisible and in need. In bread lines and soup kitchens those in need are identified by their presence. Jesus spoke of ministering to the "one". He left the ninety-nine sheep to go in search of the one lost sheep. This reminds me to be mindful of each and every interaction I may have because one never knows how many reverberations one action may have.
The author's stream of consciousness-like sharing reminds me how common are our human experiences. Her attempts to balance the letter of the law with the spirit of the law are amusing to me because they strike home. My favorite musing so far? " I wonder if a Work of Mercy still counts if you're crabby about it?"
I started the book last night and read the first three chapters; I had to stop myself from reading the whole book at once. I love how the author treats serious matters (the Corporal Works of Mercy) in a lighthearted way; it is far too easy to let the penitential tone of Lent grind one down into dourness. I look forward to reading the rest of the book.
Lent is a good time to get things together. A time to decide what is important in our lives and what we can let go of and “give up.” But it is also so much more. It is a time to figure out what we can give. I look forward to this journey through the season of Lent. A little spring cleaning for the soul and the birth of a new outlook on life.
In chapter 2, Kerry gives James Keenan's definition of mercy as"the willingnes to enter into the chaos of another". This simple but profound statement caused me to see that the opportunities for engaging in the works of mercy are present to me each day. There are many people who need a listening ear and a prayer because their lives are in chaos. The Lord is shedding light in my darkness!
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