Day 7: Rural Works of Mercy

 
Rural Works of Mercy
 
Hymn
 
O God, as Jesus by His birth
Became our fellow man on earth,
And raised man, by His brotherhood,
To His divine similitude:
 
We beg that we in men may see 
The form of Your divinity, 
What good for fellow men we do 
Accept as being done for You.
 
Through Jesus Christ let this be done
Who lives and reigns, our Lord, 
Your Son, Whom with the Spirit we adore, 
One God with You forevermore.
 
Antiphon
 
P. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 
(Psalm 111)
 
All: Happy is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commands.
 
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; / the upright generation shall be blessed.
 
Wealth and riches shall be in his house; / his generosity shall endure forever.
 
He draws through the darkness, a light for the upright; / he is gracious and merciful and just.
 
Well for the man who is gracious and lends, / who conducts his affairs with justice;
 
He shall never be moved; / the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.
 
An evil report he shall not fear; / his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
 
His heart is steadfast; / he shall not fear till he looks down upon his foes.
 
Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever; / his horn shall be exalted in glory.
 
The wicked man shall see it and be vested; he shall gnash his teeth and pine away; / the desire of the wicked shall perish.
 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, / and to the Holy Spirit,
 
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be / world without end. Amen.
 
Antiphon
 
All: Blessed are the poor in spirit, / for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 
P. (Chapter–Matthew 6:19-20) Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where rust and moth consume, where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart also will be.
 
R. Thanks be to God.
V. He who trusts in his riches shall fall.
R. But the just shall spring up as a green leaf.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.
 
Let us pray.
 
P. May the grace of the Holy Spirit, we beg You, O Lord, enlighten our hearts, and refresh them abundantly with the sweetness of perfect charity, through Christ our Lord.
 
R. Amen.
V. St. Isidore.
R. Pray for us.
 
Prayer in Honor of Saint Isidore
 
All: O God, who taught Adam the simple art of tilling the soil, / and who through Jesus Christ, the true vine, / revealed Yourself the husbandman of our souls, / deign, we pray, through the merits of blessed Isidore, / to instill into our hearts a horror of sin and a love of prayer, / so that working the soil in the sweat of our brow, / we may enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, through the same Christ our Lord.
 
R. Amen.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit. 
V. Let us bless the Lord. 
R. Thanks be to God.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
R. Amen.
 
REFLECTION
 
Although St. Isidore and his wife, S. Maria de la Cabeza, were very poor, they gave of what they had to those who were poorer than themselves. Every Saturday they would serve a meal to the poor whom they had met in their daily visits to the churches of Madrid. One day after all the food had been given out, a latecomer arrived, hungry and destitute. Although St. Isidore knew that his wife had already served all the food they had in the house, he asked her to look again into the kettle to see if there might not be just one more serving left. S. Maria obediently lifted up the kettle to see if there were anything remaining, and was surprised to find that it was as heavy as if nothing had been taken out of it.
 
Works of mercy take on different forms in different times and countries. In the frontier days in America, typical ways of helping one’s neighbors were: wholehearted hospitality to strangers and travelers; quick assistance to sick and bereaved families, even to the extent of doing the plowing or harvesting for them if necessary; helping other families with greater than family-size projects like barn-raising or butchering; and special help at times of crisis like drought, hail, prairie fire, etc.
 
Many opportunities like these still occur in rural communities, but in addition, new ways of helping one’s neighbor are constantly arising. For instance, it may often be possible for older farmers to help inexperienced farmers in adopting new and better farming methods, or it may be possible to be of service to one’s community as a whole by helping to organize a soil conservation district, improve the school system, or provide better roads or other means of communication.
 
A Christian farmer will also be on the alert to help his pastor in parish projects for adult education, recreation, or in expanding parish facilities. Finally, many opportunities will arise for the modern farmer to give of his abundance to the less fortunate farmers, who comprise three-fourths of the world’s population, in other lands.
 
Recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be (etc.), three times, followed by a prayer of your choice for special needs.