Each month during the Year of Mercy we will highlight one or two of the Corporal or Spiritual Works of Mercy. We receive so many blessings from the Lord, the outpouring of His mercy and love. We share that mercy and love with others in corporal, or material ways, as well as in spiritual ways. There are two types of doubts which afflict people. One is uncertainty, and the other is disbelief. For doubts which arise from a lack of knowledge, counsel involves instruction, helping to explain the teachings of Jesus so that another may no longer be uncertain. For the doubt which arises from disbelief, counsel involves encouragement in hope. “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.” (John 20:27) Our faith is what gives us hope— hope in God and hope in heaven. And it that hope which allows us to endure the trials of this world. Sometimes our own hope is lacking, and we need that of another to help us. Sometimes our own wisdom is lacking, and we rely upon another to aid us. When we counsel the doubtful, we extend God’s love to others. These are our brothers and sisters—and Jesus Christ invites us to share with them from the mercies that we have received.
Everyone has times of doubt in their journey of faith. But we must never forget that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and we have but to turn to Him. We celebrate this gift of hope in a special way this Easter season, as we celebrate Jesus’ death and Resurrection for us, that we might share in His victory. It is important to share this gift of hope with others, in particular with those who may be lacking it. This is a Spiritual Work of Mercy, so we must attend to the person’s spirit, which might be weak. We do so with encouragement. When someone asks for advice, orient them to Jesus Christ. Truly discern, and don’t simply judge based upon the things of this world. And for those who are lacking in knowledge, there are numerous opportunities for those young and old here in the parish to grow in faith, whether it be through bible studies, adult Confirmation classes, RCIA for those interested in becoming Catholic, our parish library in the Front Office, or borrow a book from Fr. Oakland about any particular topic. Come yourself, or invite another along!
“Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
that you may eventually become wise" (Prov. 19:20)
The 36 doctors of the Church are men and women throughout history who are noted for their eminent learning, a high degree of sanctity, and as such have been formally Doctors such by the Church. These individuals, most of whom died long ago, are a great source of wisdom and guidance for those who are lacking in knowledge, or those helping another who is uncertain.
“But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire.” (Jude 20-23) Jude exhorted his hearers to remain steadfast, even amidst great difficulty and trial. He is the Patron Saint of Lost or Hopeless Causes—because we must never lose hope.
As Christ told St. Bridget, “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.”