SAN FERNANDO City, Pampanga, March 6, 2015—A Catholic prelate has reminded the faithful that living out one’s faith concretely is more important than carrying out merely outward, ritualistic penitential acts, in order for them to better share in Christ’s Passion this coming Holy Week.
Concretizing the faith
While countless individual Catholics practice penance during Lent, San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David lamented many are misguided, stressing they still need to know there are safer and more concrete ways of expressing contrition like doing the corporal works of mercy.
“Here in Pampanga, we have reintroduced the corporal works of mercy. These … are inspired by Matthew 25. Just recently we have launched the Lenten Savings for Alms Giving, which encourages the faithful to set aside the money they will save from fasting for charity as a concrete expression of Lenten sacrifice,” the prelate said in an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas.
Based on Matthew 25:35-40, the seven corporal works of mercy are as follows:
- To feed the hungry
- To give drink to the thirsty
- To clothe the naked
- To shelter the homeless
- To visit the sick
- To visit the imprisoned
- To bury the dead
David, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA), hails from Pampanga, a province where “mortification of the flesh” like crucifixion and self-flagellation are popular forms of Lenten penance, especially among Kapampangan males.
The prelate called on Church groups to hold Lenten recollections and retreats, but advised against limiting participation exclusively to their members so that other interested Catholics can also take part. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)