The Least of My Brothers and Sisters
This 4th of July I had the pleasure of seeing many of my family I hadn’t seen in quite some time. I spent a lot of time with my two widowed aunts, Connie and Dorothy. They spent a lot of time talking about the past. It was a joy to talk with them. We reminisced about the family and especially about the ones we have lost and the younger generation who have such a difficult time ahead of them in our modern secular society.
One of my aunts talked at length about a group of friends from her high school class that she was still in touch with after all this time. The group has been meeting one a month for decades. They always go to the same restaurant because of one of the founding members of the group asked them to many years ago. This dear friend, named Mary, had been diagnosed with a debilitating and always fatal neuromuscular disease at a very young age. She never missed a lunch as long as she was able to drive and once she wasn’t one of the group would pick her up and bring her to the monthly lunch. Soon the group was providing the woman with transportation and performing daily tasks for her that she could not longer perform. It was because of my aunt and the others in the group that this woman was able to stay in her home to the end of her life. She progressively declined from having difficulty swallowing to be dependent on a feeding tube, but still she never missed a lunch.
But, eventually, Mary became so ill that she couldn’t attend the monthly lunch any longer. The group determined that a few of them would visit her after every lunch. They also visited her many times in between, reminiscing and praying together. When Mary was on her death bed, my aunt was one of her friends that was at her bedside. They prayed and stood vigil as she passed into a new life free of pain and sorrow.
At one point near the end of her life, Mary asked that the group continue the monthly luncheon and remember her fondly. And so they did and over the years they had lost more and more of the group to death, and each one of them is remembered.
Early on while I sat talking to them, I found myself thinking, “Oh isn’t that just like old people always talking about funerals.” But then I thought “you’re old too, you know.” And then realized just how wonderfully my aunts and their friends had been living the spiritual and corporal works of mercies out in their everyday lives.
We are all aware that poverty and homelessness are on the rise. Recently, the parish has receive at least five calls a day from individuals and organizations searching for help with housing, utility bills, transportation issues, food and much more. Previously, we would receive that amount in a week or two. The majority of these people are not parishioners, but I believe we have just as many, if not more people in our parish who have needs that we don’t hear about. Maybe you know a few.
How can you help?
Our all-volunteer organizations of St. Vincent de Paul Society, Knights of Columbus, Christian Services, St. Stephen Ministry and more are tremendous in what they do for the least of our brothers, but they can always use more help. In September we will be having our annual Come and See event that highlights these organizations and many more.
In preparation for Come and See, I thought it provide you with the simple form below and ask you to pray and discover at least one way that you can perform a simple act of mercy for someone less fortunate. Please cut out the form and complete it. Put it in on your mirror or refrigerator; someplace you will see it everyday. In September, bring it to the Come and See and let us help you discover how you can be of service to others or how we can help you!
Corporal Works of Mercy
- Feed the hungry
- Give drink to the thirsty
- Clothe the naked
- Shelter the homeless
- Visit the prisoners
- Comfort the sick
- Bury the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy
- Teach the ignorant
- Pray for the living & dead
- Correct sinners
- Counsel those in doubt
- Console the sorrowful
- Bear wrongs patiently
- Forgive wrongs willingly