Monday, November 30, 2015

Year of Mercy Book Package (Our Sunday Visitor)

The Year of Mercy will officially be underway on December 8th. To prepare the faithful for this Holy Year, there are a lot of books and resources coming out. One of the most approachable and easy to read resources that I have found so far is called the Year of Mercy Book Package, available from Our Sunday Visitor. There are eight books in this series at $10 a piece, but if you order directly from Our Sunday Visitor, which I highly recommend, you can get the whole set for $39.95, essentially half off. The titles are as follows:

Celebrating Mercy
The Psalms of Mercy
The Parables of Mercy
Mercy in the Fathers of the Church
The Saints in Mercy
Mercy in the Teachings of the Popes
The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
Confession: The Sacrament of Mercy

The books have a certain sequence to them, but the topics are distinct enough that they can be read in any order. Today, I will briefly discuss Book 7 The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and Book 8 Confession: The Sacrament of MercyThe Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy is a 70 page book, which walks the reader through the seven Corporal and seven Spiritual Works of Mercy both from a Scriptural and a practical perspective. The corporal works are further sub-divided to add clarity. "Each of the seven corporal works of mercy remedies a deficiency in our neighbor. Indeed, in his body, a person can experience a consistent lack of resources, whether internal (first: food; second: drink), or external (third: clothing; fourth: shelter); or suffering (fifth: disease; sixth: imprisonment; seventh: burial)." This also applies for the spiritual works as seen in this quote. "Human persons suffer deficiencies in their spiritual dimension, to which the spiritual works of mercy respond, either by imploring the help of God (seventh: prayer), intervening by instructing or advising others (second: treats deficiencies through teaching; first: provides counsel), comforting (fourth: in suffering and sadness), or by reacting to the disorders of their action (third: admonishing; fifth: forgiving; sixth: bearing with them).

The book does a fine job of stressing the eternal importance of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, while keeping in mind that sometimes the material needs have to be met through the Corporal Works of Mercy first. In addition to the ample Scripture passages which are referenced (Psalm 136 and Matthew 25 in particular), there is also great Patristic sources as well, including Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, and St. John Chrysostom to name a few. This is truly an approachable treasure for understanding how a Catholic should act and help his fellow man.

Confession: The Sacrament of Mercy is an 80 page book that begins by listing Gospel passages that reflect Jesus' mercy and forgiveness. We see this in three instances in particular - 1. The four friends lowering their friend from the roof to be healed, 2. The Parable of the Prodigal Son, and 3. The Parable of the Good King and the Unforgiving Servant. Chapter Four talks about Jesus Risen, the Holy Spirit dwelling among us, and priests being given the ability to forgive sins. Chapter Five walks us through the words the priest says in the Sacrament of Confession and what they mean. Chapter Six stresses the importance of Confession in pastoral ministry and how to make it a priority in your Church.

This book does a fine job of showing you the beauty of Jesus' mercy and the love he has for us in giving us the Sacrament of Confession. I highly recommend this book, and this entire eight book series for all priests and pastors. It will not only be a blessing for you, but it will be a blessing for your flock as well. May your Year of Mercy be fruitful for you and others as well!

These books were provided to me for free by Our Sunday Visitor in exchange for honest reviews. If you found these reviews helpful, please click here and/or here and hit yes!