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Tag: Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Obligation of Clear, Compassionate Correction of the Sinner – A Homily for the 23rd Sunday of the Year

September 9, 2017 4 Comments
The Obligation of Clear, Compassionate Correction of the Sinner – A Homily for the 23rd Sunday of the Year

We live in times in which there is a widespread notion that to correct sinners is to “judge” them. Never mind that it is sin that we judge, not the sinner. Never mind that in accusing us of judging, the worldly-minded are themselves doing the very judging they condemn. Never mind any of that; the […]

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Pray for the Living and the Dead – A Meditation on the Seventh Spiritual Work of Mercy

June 15, 2015 13 Comments
Pray for the Living and the Dead – A Meditation on the Seventh Spiritual Work of Mercy

What is the value of one prayer? I suspect it is far greater than any of us imagine. Prayer changes things, sometimes in obvious ways, more often in subtle and even paradoxical ways. But prayer is surely important, even when we don’t experience its immediate effects. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught us to pray […]

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Forgive All Injuries – A Meditation on the Sixth Spiritual Work of Mercy

June 9, 2015 13 Comments
Forgive All Injuries – A Meditation on the Sixth Spiritual Work of Mercy

Of all the things about which I preach, very few (if any) provoke as strong (and usually negative) a reaction as the call to forgive. I get more angry pushback after a Mass at which I preach on forgiveness than when I speak about chastity, greed, or any other challenging moral topic. It would seem that the anger is rooted in […]

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Bear Wrongs Patiently – A Meditation on the 5th Spiritual Work of Mercy

June 1, 2015 21 Comments
Bear Wrongs Patiently – A Meditation on the 5th Spiritual Work of Mercy

Here is  perhaps the most revolutionary of the Spiritual works of mercy. It is the one tied most directly to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. To decide to bear wrongs patiently is nothing less than to declare a revolution and to wage a very paradoxical counteroffensive against this world and its economy of anger. There […]

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Comfort the Sorrowful – A Consideration of the Fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy

May 19, 2015 13 Comments
Comfort the Sorrowful – A Consideration of the Fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy

The fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy is to “comfort the sorrowful.” Sometimes it is listed as to “comfort the afflicted.” This description broadens the work just a bit and also fits more with the original notion of the word “comfort,” as we shall consider in a moment. But of all the spiritual works of mercy, comforting […]

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Counsel the Doubtful – A Meditation on the Third Spiritual Work of Mercy

May 5, 2015 3 Comments
Counsel the Doubtful – A Meditation on the Third Spiritual Work of Mercy

At first glance, counseling the doubtful may seem rather similar to instructing the ignorant. However, teaching has learning as its goal while counseling aims to assist with decisions. Certainly giving counsel often includes some aspects of teaching, such as providing information and perspective, but its primary purpose is to assist a person in coming to a decision. This […]

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More Precious than Silver or Gold – A Meditation on the Spiritual Work of Mercy to Instruct the Ignorant

April 29, 2015 21 Comments
More Precious than Silver or Gold – A Meditation on the Spiritual Work of Mercy to Instruct the Ignorant

To instruct comes from the Latin in + struere, which means to build up or (even more literally) to pile up. In English, there is also the notion of strewing something. For example, to strew hay or to say that the seed has been strewn. Thus, to instruct means to disperse knowledge or build someone up in what is learned. […]

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Admonish the Sinner – A Reflection on the First Spiritual Work of Mercy

April 20, 2015 33 Comments
Admonish the Sinner – A Reflection on the First Spiritual Work of Mercy

I wrote last week asking, Whatever happened to the spiritual works of mercy? I also indicated an intent to write on each of them. Here is the first installment: Admonishing the Sinner. The word “admonish” comes from the Latin verb monere meaning to warn, advise, or alert someone to a threat or danger. As such, its purpose is […]

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