Prayers, please, for Joanne, in her last days with cancer, for the
Cape Cod Women's Center, a shelter for battered families, which is
facing a terribly threatening financial crisis, and for the repose of
the soul of Bishop Michael Rusnak,
C. Ss.R., retired bishop of the Eparchy of Byzantine Slovaks in
Toronto. Thanks so much! JL
January 18, May 19, September 18
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the
whole soul, the whole strength.
Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
Then not to murder.
Not to commit adultery.
Not to steal.
Not to covet.
Not to bear false witness.
To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
To chastise the body.
Not to become attached to pleasures.
To love fasting.
To relieve the poor.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.
To help in trouble.
To console the sorrowing.
To become a stranger to the world's ways.
To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.
The Commandments are here, but so are some of the works of mercy,
both spiritual and corporal: clothing the naked, relieving the poor,
visiting the sick, burying the dead, helping in trouble and consoling
the sorrowing. It is no accident that the works undertaken by
monasteries were most often those involving spiritual or corporal
works of mercy.
Mercy is God's greatest attribute. Its links with love make it an
attribute we can easily follow in our dealings with others,
conforming ourselves more and more to the image of Christ. When the
Father looks at us, He delights to see the image of His Son brought
to life in us. Nothing can bring that image into sharper focus than
works of mercy every day, continually throughout our lives.
Many works of mercy can be given freely, but never forget that some
do works of mercy for a living. I used to think nursing didn't count
because I got paid for it. Then one day, it dawned on me that there
were plenty of people you couldn't PAY to nurse someone! No, the
teacher, the gravedigger, the nurse and anyone else who does such
works of mercy as an occupation are still graced!
The works of mercy can be words, deeds, or prayers. They seek to
alleviate pain or prevent it. Remember those spiritual works of
mercy, like counseling the doubtful or enlightening the ignorant,
praying for the living and dead. You don't have to run an almonry or
work in one to do works of mercy. The chances are everywhere and
often no more dramatic than offering to get a swamped co-worker a cup
of coffee. They are often just such little things, but they are
little things of love and therein lies their greatness and their
Christ-like splendor! Courtesy, simple courtesy is extraordinary in
our world today because it is so often neglected. The chances there
for a word of mercy or a kind gesture are abundant.
Never let a day go by without doing works of mercy. Never. If you are
already in bed and examining your conscience when you realize you
have missed a day, there is still time to pray for the dying, to pray
for the living and dead. We have no excuse for missing a day and
there is so much good at stake, good placed near our own hands. Don't
miss that wonderful chance! An don't be surprised to find that works
of mercy change YOU as much as they do others. Little by little we
become more of Christ!
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA