“But at the heart of the Corporal Works of Mercy is making yourself available to those in need, even when it isn’t convenient, even when you don’t expect it.”
Lent is a time for self-reflection and a time to change for the better. Living in New York City may seem like a great place to try and do good works during Lent, but Kerry finds it is harder to do than say. As part of her Lenten journey one year, she commits to trying to live out the Corporal Works of Mercy – feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead.
Mercy in the City was given out for free at church during Lent this spring. I did not read it until now, but it did look interesting, as it was the author’s personal journey for Lent. I thought about saving it to read during the next Lent, but I really wanted to see what she did before Lent rolls around to see if there was anything I would want to incorporate in my own life.
Kerry is honest with her feelings as she tries to accomplish several works of mercy during Lent. She tries to wake up early to serve in a bread line, but sometimes she doesn’t get up in time. She goes through her closet twice – once before she volunteers at a clothing closet and then another afterwards. When she saw how little the women had, she knew she could give more. It takes her a while to arrange visiting a prison, and she makes sure not to look up the crimes the prisoners committed until after the visit. She never gets to help bury the dead, but does run into a gravedigger while running through a cemetery. She has trouble deciding when to give the homeless food and when not to. (In the past, she had once been attacked by a homeless man.) However, when she stops and talks to a homeless man one day, she finds out he knows her boss and she sees him as a person. I think that was one of the pivotal moments of her Lenten journey.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something different to do for the Lenten season or wants to commit to changing his or her thinking for a few months. We often say we want to help, but the words rarely turn into actions. This book will inspire you to action.
What is the most interesting spiritual exercise you have done? Comment below!