-->

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Beautiful Mercy - Pope Francis et al. Experiencing God's Unconditional Love So We Can Share It With Others


Beautiful Mercy:
Experiencing God's Unconditional Love
So We Can Share It With Others
Pope Francis et al.
Beacon Publishing a ministry of
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781942611554
eISBN 9781942611554
ASIN B019NH7206


This was an amazing read. If you are unfamiliar with the works or mercy or cannot recall them off the top of your head Matthew Kelly reminds us that: "The works of mercy are broken up into two categories: the corporal works of mercy and the spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works of mercy are concerned with

The corporal works of mercy are concerned with meeting the physical needs of others. They are:

  • feed the hungry
  • give drink to the thirsty
  • clothe the naked
  • shelter the homeless
  • visit the sick
  • visit the imprisoned
  • bury the dead
The spiritual works of mercy, on the other hand, are designed to meet the spiritual needs of others. They are:
  • instruct the ignorant
  • counsel the doubtful
  • correct sinners
  • bear wrongs patiently
  • forgive offenses willingly
  • comfort the afflicted
  • pray for the living and the dead
After Matthew reminds us of what the works of Mercy are he states: "For this book, we've enlisted the help of some incredible authors in the Church. These authors have taken the fourteen works of spiritual and corporal mercy and provided simple, practical ways for you to understand them better and to incorporate them into your everyday life. I hope you pray through this book and invite the mercy of God to transform your life, because in the end it's all about God's mercy." It truly is an incredible collection. A few of the authors I had encountered prior to reading this volume, a few I had never heard of. I have already picked up books by three of the contributors to add to my 'to be read pile'.

The contributors in order of appearance are:
Matthew Kelly
Pope Francis
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Fr. Larry Richards
Fr. Michael Gaitley, Mic
Christopher West
Lisa M. Hendey
Dr. Allen R. Hunt
Fr. Donald Calloway, Mic
Kerry Weber
Mother Olga Yaqob
Sr. Marie Veritas, Sv
Dr. Carloyn Woo
Lisa Brenninkmeyer
Curtis Martin
Sarah Swafford
Sr. Mary Madeline Todd, Op, Std
Jackie Francois-Angel
Sr. Helena Burns, Fsp
Jennifer Fulwiler
Daniel Burke
Matt Fradd
Fr. James Mallon
Fr. Mike Schmitz
John Michael Talbot
Msgr. Charles Pope
Dr. Scott Hahn

The introduction by Pope Francis says: "Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offenses, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead." Pope Francis goes on to outline line that we will be known and judged by our actions And living the works of mercy is needed in our world and in our lives.

Father Larry Richards declares: "We must feed the hungry or be damned! Did I get your attention? I hope so!" what a way to grab our attention at the beginning of his piece on Feeding the Hungry. And later Christopher West writing about giving drink to the thirsty quoting Pope Francis: "I see clearly," said Pope Francis, "that the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds." And this means that "ministers of the Church must be ministers of mercy above all."  Ministers of mercy are those willing to enter into the pain and misery of people's lives, touch their wounds, and surprise them with tender, healing love." What would our families, our communities look like if we strived to live this better each day? Also writing about giving drink to the thirsty Lisa M. Hendley says: "Sometimes the "drink" we carry to those who thirst will be literal. Often, it will be figurative. Regardless, let us pray daily for gratitude for those who have quenched our thirst and for the grace to carry the drink of living water to those most in need." How often do we acknowledge those who have filled our cup? Do we as generously then fill others?

Later Dr. Allen R. Hunt writing on clothe the naked reminds us that: "In the corporal works of mercy, Jesus calls us to do something-not simply to talk about it, not to study it, not to establish a committee to develop a plan for it, but to do it. To really and truly clothe the naked." There was a time many years ago when I was out of work and in a new town, I noticed the worship leader wore a different winter coat every week and I was without one. I asked him if I could borrow one until I could get one. The next week he showed up with a hockey duffle bag full of clothes for me all from his closet. This man literally clothed me and I never forgot it.

Curtis Martin writing about comforting the afflicted says: "For nonbelievers, there is enough evidence to conclude that the world is an essentially brutal place, where the innocent and weak not only suffer, but suffer at the hands of the strong. They believe that Darwin was right and only the strongest and the fittest will survive. Jesus came to reveal a radically different perspective, a deeper truth, a more powerful truth: that suffering, while real, is not the final word." And we as the body of Christ as that witness in the world. Can our neighbours and friends tell a difference between us and how we live and the non-believers they know.

For many years now one of my often spoken prayers is that 'my actions would live up to my theology' that sentiment is echoed in the quote at the beginning of the section on Instruct the Ignorant: "For nonbelievers, there is enough evidence to conclude that the world is an essentially brutal place, where the innocent and weak not only suffer, but suffer at the hands of the strong. They believe that Darwin was right and only the strongest and the fittest will survive. Jesus came to reveal a radically different perspective, a deeper truth, a more powerful truth: that suffering, while real, is not the final word." This reminded me to ask what is my life witnessing to.

The greatest strength is this book is the stories, from the introduction by Matthew Kelly with the stories of Adam, David, Mary Anne to the stories in each separate piece either the authors own witness or the stories they have observed. I really do not believe you could read this book and not be moved and challenged in your own life. For me it was strange but as I was reading the section that hit me most was Bury the Dead, my oldest is in training to become an alter server, in communicating with the lady who coordinates it for our parish I mentioned that I had server from a child well into university. She asked if I would be willing and able to alter server at the occasional funeral mass when they need assistance. I said yes, how could I not. It is a small sacrifice on my part to help live this out.

Please give this book a read, it will dramatically impact your life, and through your life those who know you and the ripples will keep spreading out. This is an amazing book and I highly recommend it.



The chapters in the book are:

Prelude: We All Need A Little Mercy By Matthew Kelly
Introduction: An Invitation To Mercy By Pope Francis
Part One: The Corporal Works Of Mercy
 1. Harbor The Homeless
Welcoming Mercy Cardinal Donald Wuerl
 2. Feed The Hungry
Generous Mercy Fr. Larry Richards
Active Mercy Fr. Michael Gaitley, Mic
 3. Give Drink To The Thirsty
Surprising Mercy Christopher West
Refreshing Mercy Lisa M. Hendey
 4. Clothe The Naked
Giving Mercy Dr. Allen R. Hunt
 5. Visit The Sick
Divine Mercy Fr. Donald Calloway, Mic
 6. Ransom The Captive
Freeing Mercy Kerry Weber
 7. Bury The Dead
Hopeful Mercy Mother Olga Yaqob
Personal Mercy Sr. Marie Veritas, Sv
Affirming Mercy Dr. Carloyn Woo
Part Two: The Spiritual Works Of Mercy
 8. Comfort The Afflicted
Comforting Mercy Lisa Brenninkmeyer
Triumphant Mercy Curtis Martin
 9. Instruct The Ignorant
Sharing Mercy Sarah Swafford
Enduring Mercy Sr. Mary Madeline Todd, Op, Std
10. Counsel The Doubtful
Empowering Mercy Jackie Francois-Angel
Being Mercy Sr. Helena Burns, Fsp
11. Admonish The Sinner
Humble Mercy Jennifer Fulwiler
Faithful Mercy Daniel Burke
12. Bear Wrongs Patiently
Prevailing Mercy Matt Fradd
13. Forgive Offenses Willingly
Scandalous Mercy Fr. James Mallon
Tireless Mercy Fr. Mike Schmitz
14. Pray For The Living And The Dead
Empathetic Mercy John Michael Talbot
Infinite Mercy Msgr. Charles Pope
Conclusion: Beyond Grumbling By Dr. Scott Hahn
Notes


Books by Patrick Kelly:
Rediscover Jesus
I Know Jesus
The Long View
Decision Point: The Workbook
Decision Point: The Leader Guide
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
Rediscover Advent
The One Thing
Rediscover Lent
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion
Why Am I Here?
Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children
The Dream Manager
The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved
The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
Building Better Families - 5 Practical Ways to Build Family Spirituality
The Book of Courage
The Shepherd: A Modern Parable about Our Search for Happiness
Mustard Is Persecution, Matthew Kelly Foundation
A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God
The Rhythm of Life: An Antidote For Our Busy Age
Words from God
Resisting Happiness
The Narrow Path
Our Father
Beautiful Mercy

Audio by Matthew Kelly from Lighthouse Media:
Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
The Best Way To Live
Don't Just Try, Train
Faith At Work & The Holy Moment
The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic - Excerpt
The Jesus Question
My Spiritual Journey
Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change
Raising Amazing Children
The Seven Levels Of Intimacy

The Seven Pillars Of Catholic Spirituality

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

1 comment:

Doug said...

Ministers of mercy are those willing to enter into the pain and misery of people's lives, touch their wounds, and surprise them with tender, healing love." This means all of us can become ministers of mercy in any part of our life when we are called.