During his annual message for Lent, Pope Francis urged Catholic to prepare to celebrate the great mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus and for that mystery to grow within us through freedom and generosity. He explained that putting the paschal mystery at the center of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in others.
"Today, too, there is a need to appeal to men and women of goodwill to share, by almsgiving, their goods with those most in need, as a means of personally participating in the building of a better world," said Pope Francis. "Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness."
As Fr. Giovanni de Jesus Romero, pastor at St. Andrew in Red Springs who has worked closely with Catholic Charities helping families in need after hurricanes Mathew and Florence, says, “Most needy brothers are the ones who most need the opening of our heart to feel that Lent is a moment in which we are with them. That is why we discover that Lent is a time to review our heart, life and the way we are sharing with others.”
During this Lent especially, as so many are affected by the impact of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis and its social and economic impacts, there are growing opportunities to not just give something up but give something to others in need.
If you’re wondering where to start, Ft. Romero invites us to remember The Corporal Works of Mercy, kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs. "The Corporal Works of Mercy describe what we as Christians can actually do every day to help others,” says Fr. Romero.
Corporal Works of Mercy:
- feed the hungry
- give drink to the thirsty
- clothe the naked
- shelter the homeless
- visit the sick
- visit the imprisoned
- bury the dead