Monday 2 August 2021

Mercy Works - Mark Shea - Practical Love for the 21st Century

Mercy Works: 
Practical Love for the 21st Century
Year of Mercy
Mark Shea 
ISBN 9781784690762
eISBN 9781784693312
CTS Booklet PA25

This is the fourth volume in the Year of Mercy Series that I have read. I believe there are 8 volumes in this series and that 6 of them are available as eBooks. I picked all the eBooks up as soon as I finished the first one. Over the last several years, I have read over 200 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. This is the first book I have read by Mark Shea. It seemed a few years back his name was constantly coming up in the Catholic Blog Sphere or on social media, but I have not heard anything in a few years. The description of the booklet is:

“The spiritual and corporal works of mercy are not a list to be learnt but actions to be lived. Mark Shea gives great examples of people who have performed the works of mercy and advice on how we can practise them in the 21st Century. Written for Pope Francis’s Year of Mercy, it remains a call to each one of us to rediscover and to live the works of Mercy every day.”

The chapters in this volume are:

Introduction to the Corporal and Spiritual 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
Instruct the Ignorant
Counsel the Doubtful
Admonish the Sinner
Bear Wrongs Patiently
Forgive Offences Willingly
Comfort the Afflicted
Pray for the Living and the Dead
Useful Organisations

It is fitting that this was the book I picked up next. I have been randomly picking them after that first one, and I picked it because I had just finished 2 other books by Father Adrian Graffy. But the two remaining eBooks in the series are:

Corporal Work of Mercy – Richard Atherton
Spiritual Works of Mercy – Paul Grogan

Which will deal with the two categories, and this one is an overview of both. In the introduction Mark tells us:

“That is a tonic reminder for Catholics about the Church’s ancient tradition of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works of mercy pertain to our bodily needs. They are:

Feed the hungry 
Give drink to the thirsty 
Clothe the naked 
Harbour the harbourless 
Visit the sick 
Ransom the captive 
Bury the dead 

The spiritual works of mercy, in contrast, are: 

Instruct the ignorant 
Counsel the doubtful 
Admonish sinners 
Bear wrongs patiently 
Forgive offences willingly 
Comfort the afflicted 
Pray for the living and the dead 

Why does the Church tease out these seven further works of mercy from the data of Scripture? Because man does not live “by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4: 4). 

In this book we will look at these works of mercy, that we may, as 2 Peter 1: 10 says, make our calling and election sure and, in union with our Lord Jesus, help renew the face of the earth.”

And Mark goes on from there to provide a broad overview. For those in the Uk the final section has some excellent resources to hep you start with living these. 

This book is a good read in a great series. The Year of Mercy may be past, but we can all grow in our knowledge of Mercy and of living it out. This book and the series will help us do just that. This book was originally published in 2015 and the eBook released in 2017. It is a good little booklet. And I look forward to reading the others in the Year of Mercy Series. I have the final 2 eBooks. And have ordered the two that are only available as physical books.

A good book in a great series from the Catholic Truth Society!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Year of Mercy Books:

Books by Mark P. Shea:
By What Authority?
This is My Body
The Church's Best-Kept Secret
Salt and Light
Seven Deadly Sins Seven Lively Virtues
The Work of Mercy
The Heart of Catholic Prayer

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