“Think global, act local.” Write a post connecting a global issue to a personal one.
Hearing the word “issue” conjures up the image of problems or concerns and this, in turn, brings to mind what we Roman Catholics call “Works of Mercy”. Now we have 2 flavors: Spiritual works of mercy and Corporal works of mercy. While both are extremely important what I’m thinking about specifically right now in relation to this global/local subject are the Corporal Works of Mercy meaning those that tend to bodily needs of others and they are: Corporal Works of Mercy are those that tend to bodily needs of others.
- To feed the hungry.
- To give drink to the thirsty.
- To clothe the naked.
- To shelter the homeless
- To visit the sick.
- To visit the imprisoned
- To bury the dead.
Now when you’re reading your bible or listening to your priest’s homily at weekly Mass you might wonder “Can these things really apply now in the 21st century; it seems almost quaint to focus on these things in this day and age, isn’t it?” To a large extent, we here in the United States and in other advanced countries have the luxury of NOT having to worry on a daily basis about how we’ll manage the tending to our own bodily needs and the needs of those for whom we are responsible. However, in less advanced, undeveloped, poorer, parts of the world this is definitely not the case. Taking just one example – the availability of a clean, sanitary, reliable water supply. Now think about clean, sanitary and reliable and the many factors could and do affect any one of those – lack of water delivery and sanitation systems, sources of contamination, drought….How many of us with WordPress blogs have worried about the effect of a drought on our ability to enjoy a cold glass of water or a hot shower, EVER in our lives? Now I’ll turn to the local aspect and again, in our day to day lives say for example living in suburbia maybe working in a more urban setting, maybe not. Do we come in contact with people who don’t have enough to eat, a place to sleep, access to a hot shower, medication, a minimal amount of human interaction and companionship? For me the answer is no, not on a typical day. But especially over the past few years I’ve experienced more and more neighbors who’ve lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their medical benefits, been victims of abuse….the sorts of life situations that fall in the categories of those 7 Corporal Works of Mercy. These are people who had not worried about any of those things – food, shelter, clothing, safety, physical security – but for one reason or another fell onto hard times making some or all of these concerns very personal and very real. So for me locally, I’ve had the opportunity to offer assistance, to step up, be available, cook a meal, go through the closet and donate winter coats, offer a ride, drop off some soup, circulate a resume and a referral, sit down and just take the time to share the company of another for whom the companionship and connection, however brief, makes a difference in their perception of their ability to go on. I could go on and on because there are so many more facets of this concept that I feel passionate about but stopping here and circling back to my original question of the relevance of the Corporal Works of Mercy. For me, an educated, professional individual and soccer mom I have found these things to be very relevant, very do-able, very integral to my daily life so yes, I’m able to connect the Last Judgment (in Matthew 25), where those saved are saved simply if they performed what we later called the corporal works of mercy—feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. And I have the opportunity on a somewhat regular if not daily basis to experience God’s grace in my life by sharing some of my blessings with others.
These are my thought this morning, February 2, 2013, on Think Global, Act Local. If you’re feeling this right now with me you might enjoy Susan Boyle‘s rendition of “Make Me A Channel of Your Peace” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOvQLMfppN8
How about you? Is this all “born-again rubbish” to you? Have you experienced hardship of the nature mentioned above? Have you had the opportunity to be a Good Samaritan, to quietly step up then step away without looking for payment or praise? Are there times where you wish you’d acted but instead stood silently by? If so, what are you going to do about it going forward? Each time I’ve sat in Church and thought about the relevance of what I was hearing about to my own life situation I’ve come away more convinced that these things are so very relevant and the fact that in today’s world it is so easy to ignore this relevance makes it all the more a source of grace to make that connection and act on it daily.
- Homeless and Just Wanting a Meal (catherineburr.com)
- Little Becomes Much (churchonfire.wordpress.com)
- Charities, schools struggle — and sometimes fail — to deliver food to growing population of hungry children (oregonlive.com)
- From Kicking to Kindness (everydayfaithblog.wordpress.com)