“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1 John 3: 18).
Venerable Servant of God, Mother Alphonse Marie, practiced the Works of Mercy, daily. Therefore Bishop Raess said of her: “This privileged soul remains as an instrument of Divine Mercy and an abundant source of Divine Blessings.”
By suffering, Mother Alphonse Marie became one of the brethren in whom Christ saw Himself: “In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me” (cf. Mt 25:40). In her suffering, she experienced fraternity with the poor and weak. It was in the name of this fraternity that she placed herself in the service of the poor, therefore, in the service of Jesus Christ, who saw Himself in the poor. She was prepared to sympathise and suffer with Christ, who suffered through the poor people, as she knew by experience, what suffering and destitution caused by illness are.
During her years of suffering, many events occurred which attracted a considerable number of visitors to her sick room. Among them were representatives of the upper class, common people, and priests. The confidence which she received, and the requests for prayers addressed to her, made her understand how heavy the burden of material and moral misery was. In this way, she had a more extensive knowledge (than might be imagined) of the physical and moral distress than (known by) many of her contemporaries. With regard to those who knew these types of trial, she felt ‘empathy’. This was another way in which she shared in Christ’s suffering. United with Christ, she felt compassion with Him for the suffering of others, and because of the same motive she was prepared to found a Congregation for helping the poor and sick. This means she was increasingly open to others.
Following her example, of what she had done in her time, we ask ourselves what can we do today.
Say to others:
You belong to us
Our society is often cold and ruthless because there are many people stricken on a periphery of society. There are, especially, jobless, unborn, mentally ill, fugitives, alien, etc. How can we be merciful? We can be concerned about such people: “You belong to us.”
I listen to you
Today, we can often hear and read in the eyes, especially, of aging people: “Wait for a while and listen to me. I have no one to listen to me.” “I am often alone.” “No one has time for me.” Hectic rush of modern life, “rationalization” of social work urge us to be faster and affective. There is a lack of—besides of those who do so—time to listen to others. To have time to listen to others is today, the most needed Work of Mercy, paradoxically, just in time technologized with a wide range of modern communication.
I talk about you nicely
Everyone already experienced: People talk, usually in negative way, about their experience with others, they talk about mistakes and bad behavior of others, etc. What is missing today, is the fundamental good wishes and appreciation of others, also, respect for them.
I will walk with you for a while
There are many, who are not able to give advice. Today, in this complicated world, it is often necessary to help others at the beginning and, also, to do some first steps with them, while the other gives courage and strength to move on alone. The signal of this act of mercy sounds like this: “You can do it! Come on, I will help you at the beginning.”
I will share with you
What about justice? Help is needed for those who cannot help themselves. Share money and gifts. Opportunities and chances remain relevant in a world so perfectly cared for! Similarly, the old wisdom gaining weight just in the face of increasing social anonymity: “Pain which is shared is half, but joy which is shared, is doubled!”
I will visit you
To visit others in their home is better than waiting for visitors to come. Visitation builds community. These highlight others and help them to get where they feel well and firm. To visit the sick, poor, old, lonely and needy is however a significant act of charity.
I pray for you
Those who pray for others, meet them in a special way. People expect us to tell them: “I pray for you.” Let us do it often, especially for those with whom we live, but also for those where tensions abound, where relationships are fragile and words are worthless. God's mercy is greater than our helplessness and sadness!
1. What are your feelings about the miseries of the world?
2. What are you doing to become a person of love?
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love to me even before I was born. I believe that throughout my life I have always been loved by You.
Thank You for loving me, even though You know me thoroughly—good and bad side of me. You do not condemn me as I do sometimes my neighbor but You believe in me.
You see that many times I fall. Even if I do anything wrong, I know that your love will never fail. You, alone, believe in the good that is in me, because only You know who I really am.
Give me the grace to be as You are—forgiving to others and sacrifice myself for the happiness of others, love others as You love them, in spite of discouragement and disappointments.
Thank You for Your great love to me, my beloved Father. Help me to practice my love to You, daily, by doing the Works of Love and Mercy. Amen.