Wednesday, February 03, 2016
In the last several years, schools and houses of prayer have recommended the practice of mindfulness. In other words it means paying attention to what we are doing or experiencing in the here and now, We tell kids to "eat mindfully" and to savor each bite of food. When we hear music, we can be mindful of the lyrics, the mood the music creates, the rhythm, and perhaps memories or images that music brings to us. On December 8th, 2015, Pope Francis initiated the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Pope reminds us to be merciful and to receive mercy. The sacrament of penance/reconciliation or confession is one of the greatest ways to experience God's mercy in our life. The Pope recommends practicing the 7 Corporal and the 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy. No doubt you practice many of these "works" everyday without being mindful of them showing "mercy." If someone inadvertently steps on your toes, you may practice mercy by saying "That's OK, my toes have endured worse than that." Or you might even be in a position to apologize yourself, if your feet were in someone's path. There are myriads of occasions to forgive, and to receive forgiveness everyday. Lent begins a week from today. As a positive Lenten practice, why not practice at least one each of the works of mercy each day. That resolve may seem trivial to some. Yet, remaining faithful to practicing virtue--AKA a work of mercy--is a sign of love for God and for neighbor. The "neighbor" could be your spouse, your child, your roommate, your co-worker, a street person, or a total stranger. In Matthew Chapter 25, verse 31 and following to the end of that chapter, Jesus says he will consider done to him or denied to him works of mercy we either carried out or neglected.