Saturday, November 14, 2020 –
Good news, everyone! There are only two left in the seven Corporal Works of Mercy. Today we will cover: to ransom the captive (AKA free the imprisoned).
Remember a couple of days ago when I mentioned offhandedly that Bishop Morrow had a slightly different order than how I listed them? Well, now we get to go back up to his number four. He also says “visit” the imprisoned, and we will get into that in a skosh:
Which are the chief corporal works of mercy? – The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:…
4. To visit the imprisoned.—Those who visit the prisoners in jails and give them instruction and material help are doing a work of mercy.
In the Middle Ages the Order of Ransom was founded for the ransom of Christians held captive by the Turks. It is said that more than a million Christians were thus ransomed, either with money, or by others taking their place. In the 19th century Cardinal Lavigerie established the Order of the White Fathers, aimed at freeing slaves in Africa. (Bishop Morrow, My Catholic Faith, p. 181)
Okay, wait. Why does Bishop Morrow say “visit” and Mrs. Flusche says “ransom” the imprisoned? Well, that is because Bishop Morrow DOES talk about ransoming the imprisoned AND Mrs. Flusche uses the old, traddy wording of just about everything. Bishop Morrow does tell us about the Order of Ransom, who in fact actually paid to release prisoners. Of course, we could get super technical and talk about how the definition of ransom also includes “a means of deliverance or rescue,” which **could** cover the simple act of visiting someone in prison and/or giving “them instruction and material help.”
Anyhoo, let’s get down to some examples:
Mr. Flusche is an attorney. Part (most) of his job is to visit clients in prison, fight on their behalf in court, and help them navigate the penal system. As far as Corporal Works of Mercy, Mr. Flusche is nailing this one! WOOT!
BBUUUTTT…what about the rest of us? Well, you can join your Church’s prison ministry (if you have one) and visit people in jail. You could donate books to your local corrections facility. You could also visit homebound. WHAT!?! Yes, persons stuck in their own home, whether from fear or ailment, are ALSO imprisoned. A lot of this also falls under “visiting the sick,” but you get the idea.
Yes, you could also help with paying bonds and stuff, but try not to become a loan shark. You can also fight to free those wrongly imprisoned.
To be clear, this does NOT mean to literally bust someone out or jail. I mean, unless that person is wrongly imprisoned by a not legitimately elected government for practicing the Catholic Faith in Latin whilst refusing to wear face panties…um…I mean a mask. Then, by all means…bust come bust me out 1970/80s Kool-Aid Man style! OH YEAH!
Sancte Elia, ora pro nobis!