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Prayer, fasting and mercy

Mar 22, 2017

Dear Friends in Christ,

I want to return to the Lenten and biblical themes of prayer, fasting, and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. These three are one, and they give life to each other. St. Peter Chrysologus says, “Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. Therefore, let prayer, mercy and fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor.”

I want to focus on the last theme of mercy. One aspect of mercy is forgiveness. In the “Our Father” prayer we understand “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” as the necessity to forgive others if we want our sins forgiven. If we want God to forgive our sins, we must forgive others. We forgive those who are sorry they have hurt us. Moreover, we are to forgive like Jesus. Jesus forgives before the person is sorry. Jesus forgives while the person is still persecuting Him. He says, “Father they know not what they do.” We are called to have supernatural forgiveness. We must ask Jesus for the grace to forgive on this level.

Another form of mercy in the bible is almsgiving. Almsgiving is above and beyond your giving to the church. Giving to the church is tithing. Everyone member is to give to the Church in the form of time, talent and treasure. Almsgiving is the giving above and beyond that to some great cause or charity.

Almsgiving is among what are known as the ‘corporal works of mercy’: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God (Mt 6:2-4). These works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbored in his or her spiritual and bodily necessities.

You may choose the almsgiving group of your choice, but St. Jude likes to offer opportunities for you to choose from. One of these causes is the second part of the Fund in Need during our Spring Dinner and Auction. We will be building a Church in Tanzania, East Africa. What we desire for ourselves, “safe sanctuary” we want for our brothers and sisters. Fr. Innocent from the Same (Som-may) Diocese in Tanzania has laid the foundation for the church in Maore Village. As is their custom, they build as they have money. The village is located at the base of the South Pare Mountains, where most of the villagers work in the rice fields and earn an average of 50 cents per day. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. I am working with Partners 4 Hope Tanzania, who office out of Stillwater, MN. They currently support a medical clinic,
sponsorships for kids needing school tuition, and provide micro-loans for single mothers to start a small business and provide for their family. They would like us to partner with them to build a Catholic Church. Without a church in their village, it is virtually impossible for people to attend Mass or religious education classes. If you will not be present at the Spring Dinner and Auction and still want to donate to this wonderful almsgiving cause please make a check out to St. Jude with dedicated to building this church in Tanzania, Africa.

Peace, Fr. Cory