Living the Corporal Works of Mercy During Lent (I was thirsty, and you gave me drink.)

In the previous post, I wrote about how our family has been focusing on one of the corporal works of mercy each Lent, beginning with feeding the hungry. Here’s what we did the following year:


We shared articles with the kids at suppertime
to make them aware of the struggle many communities
face just to have safe water for drinking and bathing.

I was thirsty and you gave me drink.

For our average little family, it can be easy to take our relative comfort and contentment for granted, even to the point where we become ignorant to the needs of others! Lent is a great gift, as it inspires us to unite ourselves to the vulnerable and the suffering that God has placed in our care. In the second year of this journey, we each gave up our favorite drinks during Lent (whether that was coffee, pop, juice, or beer in Dad’s case!), in unity with those who do not have access to fresh, clean water, and in appreciation that we do. The money that we saved on drinks (this adds up when you abstain from gourmet coffees and order only water at restaurants) we donated to a charity that builds wells to provide clean drinking water for communities in need. We also recognized the spiritually thirsty, and prayed for those thirsting for Christ, making an extra effort to invite people to join us at mass, retreats, or youth events that we attended during Lent.

drinkOther ideas: If you generally like your coffee sweet, you might choose to drink it without cream and sugar this week! On the other hand, if you struggle to drink enough water during the day, this is a good time to commit to keeping your body hydrated in gratitude that you have access to fresh safe water. Do you love to take long showers? In unity with those who do not have a sanitary place to bathe or go to the bathroom, you could limit the time you and your family spend in the shower or the tub.

Our Lenten patron saint of giving drink to the thirsty: St. Brigid of Ireland, who, known for her compassion for the poor even as a young child, once encountered a thirsty pauper and gave him a drink of water, only to have it miraculously turn to milk!


About Holly Gustafson

Holly lives with her husband, James, and their five children in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. She received her Masters in Linguistics at the University of Manitoba and now pursues her love of language through art, writing, public speaking, and unsolicited grammatical advice. Her favorite show is always the one she’s currently watching, and her favorite saint is always the one she’s currently reading. The best advice she ever received was from her spiritual friend, St. Faustina, who told her that when in doubt, “Always ask Love. It advises best.”
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