- To feed the hungry;
- To give drink to the thirsty;
- To clothe the naked;
- To harbour the harbourless;
- To visit the sick;
- To ransom the captive;
- To bury the dead.
- To instruct the ignorant;
- To counsel the doubtful;
- To admonish sinners;
- To bear wrongs patiently;
- To forgive offences willingly;
- To comfort the afflicted;
- To pray for the living and the dead.
How many times have I heard that I should not speak to someone about a fault? I was saved from damnation as a very young person because a good nun was honest with me and told me my soul was dead-dead. Now, we cannot say anything, as we may offend someone. What about to admonish sinners, does the Church not understand? And, we are the Church. The lists are from the Catholic Encyclopedia online and the link is above.
There are ways of speaking to friends and family members, but speak we must and not tolerate evil. The toleration of evil is one of the reasons Christ in Revelation criticized the Church at Thyatira, a quotation I put on this blog a month ago or so. But I have against thee a few things: because thou sufferest the woman Jezabel, who calleth herself a prophetess, to teach, and to seduce my servants, to commit fornication, and to eat of things sacrificed to idols. Rev. 2:20
See below for Thomas Aquinas and the Age of Nice here and APOSTOLICAM ACTUOSITATEM and the dumbing down of lay expectations here.
But, this is not all. What about the corporal works of mercy? This list is not for a yearly Christmas giving to the homeless, as good as that is. This list is the daily duties of the Christian. I shall only highlight one, which is visit the sick. There are families which do not go to hospitals, and parishioners which shun the sick and old. Anyone can visit a sick person. The Asian communities put us Christians to shame with the way they love and revere the old. A duty...not an option.
All the items on the list are duties, not options. And, the spiritual works of mercy are just as important as the corporal works. Here in Ireland, I have discovered a sad, cultural phenomenon. The Catholics on the whole do not as adults take the initiative in their Faith. For some reason, they are like babies waiting to be fed instead of finding out what they need to know to be faithful adults. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are demanded of us by God. Not options, duties....
We shall be asked about our involvement in these duties at our particular judgement.