Wednesday 4 August 2021

Spiritual Works of Mercy - Mgr Paul Grogan - Agents of Love

Spiritual Works of Mercy
Agents of Love
Year of Mercy
Mgr Paul Grogan
ISBN 9781784690878
eISBN 9781784692872
CTS Booklet SP46

This is the fifth 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 second book I have read by Paul Grogan. The description of the booklet is:

“Most Christians want to live an active faith yet feel perplexed about how to do so. The seven interconnected ‘spiritual works of mercy’ come to our aid: counselling the doubtful; instructing the ignorant; admonishing sinners; comforting the afflicted; forgiving offences; bearing wrongs patiently; and praying for the living and the dead. Through such acts of mercy we can respond fully to God’s goodness towards us, involving conversion of our interior life: such acts are truly God’s acts of mercy; we become the human agents through whom God alleviates people’s unhappiness.”

The chapters in this volume are:

1. Counsel the doubtful 
2. Instruct the ignorant 
3. Admonish the sinner 
4. Comfort the afflicted 
5. Forgive offences 
6. Bear wrongs patiently 
7. Pray for the living and the dead

This book was published in 2015 and the eBook was released in 2017. In the introduction we are told:

“There are seven spiritual works of mercy just as there are seven corporal works of mercy (please see Mgr Richard Atherton’s companion CTS booklet on the latter). The number is significant. In the Judeo-Christian imagination seven symbolises completeness. These acts of mercy are a means by which disciples of Jesus can make a whole-life response to God’s goodness towards them. While some members of the Church may be especially well placed to perform a particular work, all members of the Church have opportunities to engage in each work in different ways.”

For each chapter on one of the sever works the sections are:

Origins in Scripture
Example of Christ
Example of Christians Historically
The Nature and Goodness of this Work of Mercy
What can you do practically speaking?
Prayer in support

An example of the Prayer in Support is:

“Prayer in support 
Searching for God by St Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) 

O Lord, my God, teach my heart this day where and how to see you, where and how to find you. You have made me and remade me, and you have bestowed on me all the good things I possess, and still I do not know you. I have not yet done that for which I was made. Teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in my desire; let me desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you; let me love you when I find you.”

And an example of What can you do practically speaking?:

“1. Take the first move in reaching out to somebody who is interiorly suffering in a friendly, non-judgemental way. 

2. Strive to be a person who is approachable. Seek to “be present” to those whom you meet. Then they will feel confident in sharing their problems with you when the time comes. 

3. Be ready to encourage people who have particular needs to connect with appropriate professionals. 

4. At the parish level, review whether the emotional and spiritual needs of recently bereaved people are being adequately met.”

This book is an excellent read. The whole series is well written but this is one of my favorites in the series. I loved the format used. And even though I will likely return to and reread other books in the series. I see myself returning to this one frequently. Both for those practical application steps and for the prayers. The section on each of the works on literature was really interesting. Some of the sources mentioned are:

George Herbert
Charles Dickens
Jane Austen
Fyodor Dostoevsky

And it is interesting to look at the works through that lens. 

This is an excellent read in a great series. The year of mercy may have been a few years ago now. But these book are still of upmost value to Catholics. I highly recommend this book and the series. 

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:

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