Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job

Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job

by Kerry Weber
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Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry: Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the first things the reader will notice about this remarkable book is that the author, Kerry Weber, is incredibly down-to-earth and approachable – a voice speaking with authenticity and even authority, but without a single note of sanctimonious piety. She is precisely what she purports to be: a young, single woman in a large city (it doesn’t get much larger than New York) who is seeking to live out God’s will via the Corporal Works of Mercy. The whole experience began as a Lenten discipline. Although she had decided to do the usual “giving up” routine (no alcohol or sweets, no exceptions), this particular year Weber decided to take the notion of Lent one step further. In addition to doing without, she also wanted to “do more”, and what she chose as a vehicle for that were the Corporal Works of Mercy – all seven of them. (For readers who have forgotten precisely what those Works are, this book offers a pretty complete refresher course.) Her tone throughout the book is both light and serious, meaning that she takes the work seriously and herself lightly. She begins with perhaps the easiest of the Corporal Works for her, which is feeding the hungry. From helping out on a breadline, she moves on to clothing the naked; this involves assisting in the distribution of free clothing to needy women at a Catholic Worker House on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (which also leads her to a MAJOR closet clean-out). From here, she finds herself feeling surprisingly at home as part of the overnight staff at a homeless shelter. From contemplating homelessness – and her own interactions (or not) with the multitude of New York City’s homeless – she gives drink to the thirsty by manning a “fluid station” at a NYC half marathon. Though not exhausting work, even this particular morning has something to teach: “This is part of the beauty of the faith, that these waters are offered, they’re ready for us, ready to fill our thirst, but never forced on us,” Weber remarks at the end of the race clean-up. “We have to choose when and how much and how often to drink, with Christ standing always along the course, nudging the cups toward us.” Weber then spends part of Holy Thursday at a home for retired Sisters of Mercy, where she learns that serving those who are ill and being served when ill are two sides of the same coin. And finally, a trip to a cemetery to talk with a grave-digger gives her a remarkable insight into life – both here and eternally. But by far the most powerful part of the book happens in chapters nineteen through twenty-one, where Weber “visited the imprisoned”. A work-related conference in California was the opportunity for both a tourist stop at Alcatraz and a more serious, prearranged visit to San Quentin Penitentiary. There, with Father George Williams, the Jesuit prison chaplain, as her guide, she meets with a number of inmates, including those who are on death row. What she finds there surprises her; she encounters other human beings, not all that different from herself. “I had arrived ready to visit prisoners,” she concludes, “but if I’m honest, I did not arrive ready to visit people”. Although this book takes place during one Lenten season, its message is appropriate year round. Recommended for anyone who wants to experience more deeply the Gospel’s radical cal
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Magazine editor writes about her volunteer experiences in New York City and elsewhere. She describes challenges that single Catholics face when combining a professional career, volunteerism, and dating. This book is a thoughtful, even-paced reflection by someone who is serious about living a Catholic life in a big city. Great book for ages 18-35.