The corporal works of mercy offer tangible ways we can imitate Christ through loving others. One of those ways is by visiting prisoners. The incarcerated are those who may be serving time in prison. There are also a variety of others who are imprisoned. Prisoners are also those who may be detained in one place for reasons such as health, lack of friends or resources. People who have suffered traumatic lives may also be imprisoned. They may be held back from others and feel set apart. This can create sadness. It can also create a feeling of marginalization. Here are ways we can make outreach by visiting the imprisoned.
Many parishes and Catholic ministries offer ways to visit prisoners. People involved in these ministries make it a point to visit detentions centers and prisons. Often, those who receive the visits are blessed by those who are spreading the gospel. Those who lack faith are blessed as well. Research in your area how you may be able to get involved in prison ministry. Pray for those who are affected by incarceration so they may find peace.
Visit those who are homebound
Elderly people who are not able to get out of the house are often lonely. They often love to have visitors. Living at home alone or without support is challenging for them. Visiting the homebound is similar to visiting a prisoner since those who are homebound may feel incarcerated. They may need a friend, and you could be the one to offer help.
Reaching out to a forgotten friend
We live in society where social groups are formed, and sometimes others are left out of those groups. This happens in families, school, neighborhoods, and workplaces. It also sadly happens in churches. In high school we may remember the social groups formed are sometimes alienating to the “less popular”. This creates a feeling of rejection.
This concept may be difficult to grasp by those who have always had support. Reaching out is a key way to offer hope where it is needed. In addition, you may know a past friend who would love to hear from you. This could be a door to unlocking the prison of indifference. Reconciliation is also a form of breaking the chain of imprisonment.
It is key in our spiritual life to reach beyond our boundaries. When make friends outside of a clique, we are making outreach to the imprisoned. This can be done anywhere. Whether at home, work, school, or church we can make a difference. In doing so, we are imitating Christ.
These are ways to gain more awareness. Keep them in mind the next time you decide you would like to do a corporal work of mercy. Most of all, pray for those who feel marginalized. Pray they may experienced God’s love through you and other people.
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