2011-11-10

What doth it profit the Church?

The longer version of the title for this post is "What doth it profit the Church to gain dignity for immigrants but not help them save their souls?" and it's a follow-on post from my previous musing whether American bishops care more about salvation or immigration, which I think is a fair question to ask.

Let's ask the question a little differently: which is more important, to care for the bodily needs of your neighbor or his spiritual needs?  Certainly both are important: caring for the corporal and spiritual needs of your neighbor are the theme of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Concern for immigrants falls under the Corporal Works of Mercy -- give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, etc. -- and these works are good and meritorious but they are INFERIOR to the Spiritual Works of Mercy -- instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, etc.  The former tend to the need of our neighbor's mortal body; the latter to his immortal soul.  Hence the title of this little rant: What does it profit the Church to obtain dignity for immigrants if the souls of those immigrants are lost because they received less attention than arguments about legislation in Washington?

The minute my bishop and his priests starts issuing regular communiques about the need to repent, be forgiven, and amend one's life lest they go to hell I will be front and center organizing the soup kitchens and homeless shelter drives at my local parish.  I'll be doing everything I can to bring in the needy and homeless -- even the ones who habla espanol-- because my work of tending to their corporal needs will being them into proximity to the Truth they need to hear, the Truth that can set them free from sin and the punishments of hell... the truth that the only thing that can make a human being more dignified than dirt is Sanctifying Grace.

Without concern for the needs of the soul, corporal works of mercy are little better than a waste of time.

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