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. During these cold months of winter, we begin with Clothe the Naked. It is rare that we encounter those who are completely naked. But there are a great number of people in our area with true need. Their few resources are stretched thin, as are the threads on their one coat. The blanket they wrap themselves in at night isn't enough to keep out the cold. Diapers are expensive as children go through ten each day. Children are teased for wearing the same thing too often because they simply don’t have that many options in their closet. Spouses and parents who work are clothing their family, part of their love and commitment to them. When we clothe the naked, we extend our love to others in a tangible way. But it is also much more. These are our brothers and sisters—and Jesus Christ invites us to share with them from the mercies that we have received.
MERCY IN ACTION
There are countless ways in your own life, through our parish ministries or in our local community where you can help Clothe the Naked, something which is especially important during these cold months. Year round in the vestibule of the church we have our Clothesline drop. This local resource is one of many that provides free or low cost clothing to those in need, including WestSide Baby, St. Francis House, St. Vincent de Paul stores, and others. Have you looked through your closets lately to see if there are things that you don’t wear or that you don’t really need? Have extra coats, sweaters, socks and blankets? Bring them by. Have your children grown out of their clothes? Bring them by. Consider volunteering at these places, too. Consider buying used to reduce waste. And since our giving should not simply be from our surplus, consider giving something that you yourself need, that your gift will be a sacrificial offering, even more pleasing to the Lord. The Giving Tree has been up for several weeks, as we join with ten local groups and agencies to provide for those in need during this Christmas season. We share gifts, and joy as well. How are you Merciful like the Father?
PATRON SAINT OF THE MONTH: ST. MARTIN OF TOURS
St. Martin of Tours lived during the 4th century. The son of a Roman officer, he himself was forced to join the army in spite of his desire to live as a monk. As an officer entitled to a servant, he often insisted upon serving his own servant. On one occasion, as Martin was riding through the gates into the city of Amiens, he saw a poor beggar whose clothes were so worn that that he was practically naked. Martin took his sword and cut his beautiful cloak in half, giving it to the man. That night, in his dreams, Martin saw Jesus wearing that piece of cloak he had given to the man. This inspired Martin to finally be baptized. After he left the army, he spent some time as a monk in the region our Tours before becoming the bishop there. He continued to live in his monastery and to serve the poor who came to his door. He also spent much time helping people to come to know Jesus and the faith, visiting them in their homes. When we clothe the naked, like St. Martin, we too are clothing Jesus Himself.