After working on the corporal works of mercy of feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty, in the next year of our Lenten journey through the corporal works of mercy, our family welcomed the stranger:
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
In the third year, our family made an extra effort to make our home a place of welcome. Towards each other, we tried to do daily acts of kindness and attentiveness (letting a sibling have a turn at a game, or bringing someone a glass of ice water), and tried our best to always use loving and calm speech (which wasn’t always easy in a house with 5 kids!). We also made an effort to greet everyone well when they entered our home (whether that was Daddy when he got home from work, the kids when they got home from school or invited guests), and keep the entrance of our home clean and welcoming. In addition to this, we prayed for refugees entering our community, and donated extra clothes and household goods to a parish that was collecting items for a refugee family it was preparing to host.
Other ideas: This is a great time to reach out to the “strangers” in our lives (parishioners new to our church, the neighbors who recently moved in nearby that we have not yet met, the new kid at school, etc.). Have you ever considered teaching English as a second language in your community? Now’s the time to sign up as a volunteer!
Our Lenten patron saint of welcoming the stranger: St. Alban, a convert who, while he was still a pagan, is said to have opened his home to a priest and kept him hidden during a time of Christian persecution, and was martyred for it.