I had the privilege of attending the St. Michael's Catholic Grade School children's mass held last Wednesday. The song that is sung at the conclusion of the mass is titled, "We are Called." It goes something like this:
Come live in the light
Shine with the joy of the love of the Lord
We are called to be light for the Kingdom
To live in the freedom of the city of God
We are called to act with justice
We are called to love tenderly
We are called to serve one another
To walk humbly with God
Come open your heart
Show your mercy to all those in fear
We are called to be hope for the hopeless
So all hatred and blindness will be no more
Each time this song is sung I think of what the mission of the law firm that my wife and I started in 1985 is all about. The way that I see our mission and hope that others in our firm see the firm's mission is reflected in the song - to give hope to the hopeless, to lend an ear, to act with justice and to love tenderly. I believe that we each are called to serve one another and should walk humbly on this earth with our God. Although I don't always get it right I try to and I'm hopeful that the rest of the members of our firm and our staff do the same thing. It has been my desire since I was privileged to be accepted to law school, graduate and be licensed to assist those in need, to stand up for the bullied, to help the widowed, orphaned and homeless and to seek justice on behalf of our clients.
I also recently read an article that was attached to the St. Michael's Catholic Church bulletin with a caption, "What does it mean to be just in our relationships?" The former leader of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul, II, stated that one should not "forget that true love sets no conditions; it does not calculate or complain, but simply loves." I believe that's who we should be as human beings.
Matthew 25:31-46 identifies the corporal works of mercy that have long been a part of the Christian faith tradition. These Beatitudes should remind all of us to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to take care of the sick, to visit the imprisoned and to bury the dead. Most of us do pretty well with respect to caring for the sick and burying the dead but we oftentimes fail with respect to the other Beatitudes. Certainly the one that I fail most often with is one that most people think would be at the top of a lawyer's list - that is, to visit the imprisoned. I seldom do that but I intend to set the goal of doing that in the future.
In considering giving drink to the thirsty, I am reminded of the missions to Africa in which volunteers are drilling wells, thereby providing clean water and saving the countless hours it takes to walk to and from a watering hole. It greatly improves the lives of those fortunate people who will be the beneficiaries of the kindness of those contributing money towards the drilling and those actually doing the digging. While I don't dig the wells sent, I send money to help buy the wells used. It seems I can best meet the requirement of that particular beatitude in that way.
In further speaking of the Beatitudes, the corporal works of mercy all involve loving our neighbor. The bulletin that I earlier referred to from St. Michael's listed in "Reflections of Your Faith" three ways to love your neighbor. St. Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:13 that we are to serve one another in love. In living as a Christian, the disciples' responsibilities are to love and care for one another as Jesus taught us. The bulletin advises that we should branch out and "take a risk. Go out and meet your neighbors, especially if you are new to the area. Two: Give from the heart. Outreach does not always involve financial giving. Sharing your time or professional expertise or just offering a listening ear can make a difference to someone who is lonely, sick or struggling. Three: See with the eyes of stewardship. Stewardship is a unique way of living based in the ancient teaching that everything is a gift from God. When we give to our parish, our community, or our neighbor in need, we are sharing resources that have been given to us by grace." These suggestions to branch out, give from the heart, and see from the eyes of faith are taken almost word for word from the "Renew Your Faith" section of the September 22, 2013 bulletin. I have read the bulletin, liked what it read and borrowed the information so that I might share it with those who are reading the blog.
Finally, it's this time of year that many of us start thinking about Catholic Charities, Salvation Army and others that help with clothing the less fortunate. I am also reminded of the great work that Catholic Charities and the Greater Wheeling Soup Kitchen do to feed the hundreds of people that are in need of daily meals. These are two of my favorite charities because I feel that they do great good for people who are greatly in need of their assistance. I would encourage you to consider helping these very worthy charities by either contributing money or by volunteering your time. These organizations will appreciate your help and you will feel good about yourself for the help that you provide.