Aloha Friday Message – February 19, 2010 – First Friday of Lent

1008AFC021910, First Friday of lent

Happy Aloha Friday, Beloved. Today I am thinking about Mercy. I want to share some thoughts with you about corporal and spiritual acts of mercy and what I am learning about them. I am thinking about mercy because all around me I see much suffering. In response to that suffering I see courageous assistance being offered by some and general indifference by others, but mostly a mix of those two extremes. As I learn more about mercy and share what I learn with you, I hope that you and I together will find new meaning in the words of Micah 6:8

NIV Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

In this passage, justice, mercy, and humility are shown to be a combination of qualities that are pleasing to God, a combination God requires of us as “what is good.”

So, Beloved, I have been looking into what mercy is and how it has a role in our lives. The first thing I learned is that works of mercy – being merciful – affects us body and soul. There are corporal works of mercy, traditionally seven.

1. Feed the hungry,
2. Give drink to the thirsty,
3. Welcome the stranger,
4. Clothe the naked,
5. Care for the ill,
6. Visit the imprisoned,
7. Bury the dead

There are also seven spiritual works of mercy, six taught to us by Jesus, and the seventh added to affirm respect for human life.

1. Admonish sinners,
2. Instruct the uninformed,
3. Counsel the doubtful,
4. Comfort the sorrowful,
5. Be patient with those in error,
6. Forgive offenses,
7. Pray for the living and the dead.

As you can see, being merciful, or as Micah 6:8 puts it “to love mercy,” presents to us with a formidable list of requirements. It seems to me that I would surely need to be both just and humble to tackle this list successfully.

As I researched these acts of mercy, I found that sometimes the order is a bit different, and as one goes farther back in history, some of the meanings have also changed a bit. The most surprising to me was #6 in the corporal works of mercy. At one point in time the wording was “to ransom the captive.” It mean sacrificing something of one’s self to deliver freedom for another – even to the point of exchanging one life for another, taking the place of the prisoner! How extreme that seems to us! But that is precisely what Jesus did for each of us. He is our principal exemplar of Mercy, and the spiritual and corporal acts of mercy are best modeled in Him.

I am going to ask you to join me in thinking about Mercy as we go through this Lenten Season. I have no idea where it will take us, but I will trust the Spirit, and all of you, to assist in learning more about this virtue of Mercy.

I close today with a reminder to pray diligently for the people who are praying for you and especially those who are asking for your prayers. DG is having her surgery today and has asked for you to remember her as she begins her recuperation from a partial mastectomy. Pray also for those who are enduring poverty and hunger, fear and danger, war and terrorism, and everyone who is in and form of oppression whether physical or spiritual.

Here is today’s Bible passage, Ephesians 4:29:

NIV: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

KJV: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved …

Pray for the people. ALL the People.


Lenten Series on Mercy

Follow this series on Corporal Acts of Mercy

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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