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Well, it’s a new year

January 2, 2011

15 minutes into the new year, and it starts tragically for this Coptic Church in Egypt:  http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=39779

Yesterday at the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, in Portland, OR, the Servite Father talked about todays feast; how Mary, Mother of God, as being a model of virtue. We Servites stand with Mary at the foot of infinite crosses – especially like the one discussed in the story above. To develop virtue, we embrace in fraternal community & service, works of mercy, both corporal & spiritual. Corporal works of mercy are feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, burying the dead. Spiritual works of mercy are counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing sinners, comforting the afflicted, forgiving offenses, bearing wrongs patiently, praying for the living and the dead.

St John Chrysostom  spoke of this, and St Gregory the Great wrote, “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.”

Imagine the year in review 12 months from now, if we each just did a little bit of this, instead of worrying about losing 5 pounds or updating my wardrobe, or quit smoking at all costs. It would most likely be a pretty good year. So, for my New Year’s Resolution, I shall try to increase my charitable acts of mercy – and lose some weight from when I quit smoking. (Granted, that was 8 years, 3 months, and 24 days ago, but I am working up to dieting.  Besides, who’s counting?)

Random acts of kindness can change the world.  Make them/let them/help them… happen.  Happy New Year! 

Peace on earth, to all of goodwill,

Papa

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