Wednesday, November 11, 2020 –
Onward to the third installment of the seven Corporal Works of Mercy: to clothe the naked.
Here is what the good Bishop Morrow has to say:
Which are the chief corporal works of mercy? – The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:…
3. To clothe the naked.—Many make a practice of giving clothes to the poor; other gifts belong to this kind of alms.
The story of St. Martin, giving half his cloak to a beggar, exemplifies this work of mercy. (Bishop Morrow, My Catholic Faith, p. 180-1)
You know, I keep thinking these are straightforward, and yet I keep coming up with bizarre, albeit legit, examples and special “don’t do that” notes. Le sigh!
In the realm of facepalm, when Bishop Morrow says “other gifts” he is not meaning the pile of unnecessary toys and gifts we give each other for birthdays, Christmas, or random times of socially constructed holidays. He is talking about those gifts you give when someone really is in need. No, your great-niece does not need a pile of toys. Yes, she probably needs clean undies and socks to keep her warm. That does not mean we should only gift each other socks. But it does give you a general idea that a lot of the “stuff” we give is utter fluff, and we should use that money and means in a more productive, more charitable manner.
Seriously, people! Try this out: buy one less toy for Christmas and put that money towards buying one thing for a person in need. Better yet, make that purchase in the name of the person you would have given the toy to and have a discussion with them about helping those in need and doing works of mercy. There is no rule that says you cannot use a work of mercy as a teaching moment. #JustSayn’
On a side note about St. Martin, we get a lot of cool stuff from him and the story of him cutting his cloak in half, but that is a story for another day.
Omnes sancti beatorum Spirituum ordines, orate pro nobis!