Hello dear reader! Pope Francis recently consecrated the world to the Virgin Mary in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This got me thinking about one of the Virgin Mary’s many titles; the Mother of Mercy. Our Lady’s words to St. Brigid of Sweden state this plainly; “I am the Queen of Heaven and the Mother of Mercy; I am the joy of the just, and the door through which sinners are brought to God.” As the Mother of God she is the mother of Mercy Incarnate in Jesus Christ. Jesus’s Divine Mercy is infinite and all-encompassing. As Christians we are called to “be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36), That means we are called to do works of mercy
Which brings us to these trying times. Now more than ever it is important to be merciful and show mercy. Our current culture worships the merciless and praises viciousness; one look at our modern media can tell you as such. What can we do to rally against this current tide? The teachings of Jesus of course! Specfically the corporal works of mercy that guide us to respond to humanity’s most basic needs. We are to care for others and be Christ’s hands on this Earth. His command to love one another commands us to do works of mercy.
Here are a few works of mercy you can do right now:
FEED THE HUNGRY
- Check in with your parish community to see if there are parishioners who cannot (or should not) go grocery shopping themselves.
- Check in with your parish to see if the food pantry is adequately stocked.
- Organize a network of volunteers in each parish/community to grocery shop for parishioners in need, especially the more vulnerable populations in our community.
GIVE DRINK TO THE THIRSTY
- Do not purchase or hoard more water than you need. In fact, don’t hoard any supplies. Give freely and only take what you need.
- While handwashing is vitally important, make an effort not to waste water—in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who do not have access to clean water and suffer from the lack of this basic necessity.
SHELTER THE HOMELESS
- Consider donating toiletries and sanitary items to a local shelter since those who suffer homelessness—and the facilities that minister to them—are especially vulnerable at this time.
- Financially support organizations that are working to support the homeless population in your community.
VISIT THE SICK
- While in-person visits are not advisable during this time, please invest time in reaching out via phone/video call or by sending a letter or card to those who may feel particularly isolated during this time. Any little bit would help.
- Offer to assist caregivers of chronically sick family members by grocery shopping or cooking for them so they do not have to risk exposure.
- Reach out to health care workers in your community who are most likely overburdened by an unending tide of stressful pressure at this time.
VISIT THE PRISONERS
- Explore whether your parish or diocese has a prison ministry and, if so, check whether they are in need of supplies or support.
- Given that people in prison can be especially isolated and vulnerable during this pandemic, consider how to support those who are ministering to them
BURY THE DEAD
- Now that funerals may be limited or restricted, reach out with cards or phone calls to those who have recently lost a loved one
- If possible, visit the cemetery to pray for those you have lost and ask for their intercession for those who need it today
GIVE ALMS TO THE POOR
- Reach out to those who may have been especially burdened during this pandemic, especially those who have lost jobs or have been laid off
- Remember that the lack of public celebration of Masses may result in parishes struggling financially in the next few months; be sure to continue your support and increase your donations if you can
This is not a comprehensive list by any means!
There’s plenty more works of mercy you can do. I advise to pray the Rosary and mention those affected by Covid-19 panemic and front-line care workers. Speaking of prayer I would like to conclude with a prayer from Pope Francis taken from the following:
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
— Catholic News Service translation
Thanks for reading! God Bless.