As promised, each month this year, I will cover an act, or acts, of mercy. This month we will focus on clothing the naked and sheltering the homeless as part of the Year of Mercy series, where we explore the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Clothe the Naked. Shelter the Homeless.
Clothing those in need and sheltering the homeless are considered “corporal” acts of mercy because they physically impact the human body. Everyone has a need to be physically clothed and sheltered from the weather. They have a human right to these things; to act otherwise, would be disrespecting the dignity of the human person. Expressing such indifference towards the naked and homeless indicates that we do not live up to Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
In this Year of Mercy we are given ample opportunity to extend acts of mercy to those in need of clothes and shelter; ample opportunity to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”
What Can You Do to Help the Homeless?
- Clean your closets! De-clutter your closets and your life, by giving those clothes that no longer fit, or might have gone out of style, to your local Goodwill or other clothing drive. The clothes you give away will keep those in need warm and give them a sense of dignity.
- You know those free samples that you always get from the dentist (toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste)? Rather than throwing them into a drawer and forgetting about them, gather them up and donate them to your local homeless shelter.
- Take advantage of the buy one/get one free sales at the grocery store for soap, shampoo, deodorant and other toiletries. Donate the freebies to your local shelter.
- Time to redecorate the bedroom/bathroom? Consider donating your old sheets, towels, comforters and blankets to your nearest homeless shelter. Put them to good use!
All of these examples, for how you can support those in need, cost you basically nothing monetarily. Yet, to the naked and homeless, these items are treasures! You will be giving far more than physical items to those in need. You will be giving the naked and homeless their dignity! You will be making a difference!