Friday, November 13, 2020 –
Oh my! Well, yesterday I got a little long-winded and preachy. I am not promising that will not happen again…
Anyhoo, let’s get back to our discussion of the seven Corporal Works of Mercy. Today we will be discussing: to visit the sick.
Naturally, we will start with Bishop Morrow:
Which are the chief corporal works of mercy? – The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:…
6. To visit the sick.—When we visit the sick in order to give them temporal or spiritual relief, we do an act of mercy.
To build, support, or aid a hospital or a patronage for the sick is a most meritorious act of charity. Doctors and nurses who perform their duties to please God will be rewarded in heaven. Several religious orders have been founded for the express purpose of taking care of the sick, such as the orders founded by St. John of God and Vincent de Paul. (Bishop Morrow, My Catholic Faith, p. 181)
We all know deep in our hearts that we should take soup to our neighbor who is a bit under the weather and visit our elderly often. However, this particular work of mercy also includes helping a mother with her newborn by sending meals or offering to watch the baby so she can grab a much-needed nap. It also includes volunteering at a nursing home or offering to drive the crazy old lady down the street to Mass on Sunday.
“Sick” does not just mean “cough and sniffle.” We can also extrapolate (draw conclusion) that anyone who NEEDS our help should get our help. Just as Bishop Morrow said above, we are seeking to give them “temporal or spiritual relief.”
Temporal relief means goods, or tangible help. For example, offer to buy your aging parent some groceries to help alleviate financial burden or so they do not have to risk going into a store during the height of flu season. Or, bring soup to that neighbor who actually does have the sniffles. Heck, back a quiche for the new mom across the street.
Spiritual relief means helping them with the non-tangible stuff. Stay and chat for a while. Pray with the person. And yes, offer to drive the cat lady to Mass!
If you happen to be extremely financially fortunate, go ahead and buy that new cancer wing of the hospital or donate to the nursing home run by nuns. I mean, you still can and should visit the sick, but if you have the means, then by all (your) means…give…freely.
Sancte Moyses, ora pro nobis!