Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

Feb.27th/28th Bulletin Article

Dear Friends,

            In the bulletin and in my homily last week, I shared the quotation from C.S. Lewis about the fact loving others means becoming vulnerable to having our hearts broken. I shared that God's love for us is so tremendous that He humbles Himself, making Himself vulnerable, sending His Son. As I mentioned in the homily, love is not safe; love is risky and even dangerous. A devout Catholic and good friend of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, devised the world of Middle Earth, writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring trilogy. In that imaginary world of Middle Earth, Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins are pulled out of the comfort and familiarity of their home, going against their normal disposition, in order to fulfill the missions given to them, which were adventures, risky and dangerous. It's connected to this quotation from Pope St. John Paul II: “Life with Christ is a great adventure.”

            God calls us out of our comfort zones. To love is to be vulnerable; to love is to go out into deep waters. As we continue through the season of Lent, almsgiving draws us out of our comfort zones, in order to better love others. Almsgiving teaches us to show compassion, which literally means “to suffer with,” and to show mercy, whose Latin word combines misery and heart—mercy is seeing the misery and others and allowing our hearts to be moved to alleviate that misery. A great way to practice almsgiving is to live out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. These works of mercy, for most people, take us out of our comfort zones. They are part of the adventure of life with Christ.


These are the Corporal Works of Mercy:

  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Give shelter to the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead

These are the Spiritual Works of Mercy:

  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Admonish sinners
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive offenses willingly
  • Comfort the afflicted
  • Pray for the living and the dead


            A good book about the Works of Mercy is What to Do When Jesus is Hungry: A Practical Guide to the Works of Mercy by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R. This book helps explain the Works of Mercy and also gives some practical tips about living them out. While reading this may help, practicing these Works of Mercy is most important.

            We are saints under construction, living an adventure with Christ, loving vulnerably as God has loved us, and giving alms by practicing the Works of Mercy. Have a great week!


In Christ,

Fr. Matt 


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