Soeurs de Saint-Joseph de Cluny
http://sj-cluny.org/A-New-Work-of-Mercy
      A New Work of Mercy

A New Work of Mercy

Pope Francis has added an ‘eighth’ overarching work of mercy, that being “care of our common home.” The following is an extract of his message September 1, 2016 message on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation!


“Nothing unites us to God more than an act of mercy, for it is by mercy that the Lord forgives our sins and gives us the grace to practise acts of mercy in his name.”[8]

To paraphrase Saint James, “we can say that mercy without works is dead … In our rapidly changing and increasingly globalized world, many new forms of poverty are appearing. In response to them, we need to be creative in developing new and practical forms of charitable outreach as concrete expressions of the way of mercy.”[9]

The Christian life involves the practice of the traditional seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy.[10] “We usually think of the works of mercy individually and in relation to a specific initiative: hospitals for the sick, soup kitchens for the hungry, shelters for the homeless, schools for those to be educated, the confessional and spiritual direction for those needing counsel and forgiveness… But if we look at the works of mercy as a whole, we see that the object of mercy is human life itself and everything it embraces.”[11]

Obviously “human life itself and everything it embraces” includes care for our common home. So let me propose a complement to the two traditional sets of seven: may the works of mercy also include care for our common home.
As a spiritual work of mercy, care for our common home calls for a “grateful contemplation of God’s world” (Laudato Si’, 214) which “allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us” (ibid., 85). As a corporal work of mercy, care for our common home requires “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness” and “makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world” (ibid., 230-31). (Pope Francis, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, 1 September 2016)

It is with reverence for God’s creation that the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny commits itself to healing the wounds of our earth for future generations. (2012 General Chapter Orientations).

We join Pope Francis in praying:

“O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
who are so precious in your eyes…
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth” (ibid., 246),
God of mercy, may we receive your forgiveness
and convey your mercy throughout our common home.
Praise be to you!
Amen.

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