This Month's Challenge Being your Brother's(or Sister's) Keeper
After Cain murdered his brother Abel, God asked him where Abel was.
Cain asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9). Cain didn't want
to feel responsible for his brother because he had only been looking out
for himself. God wants us to look out for each other.
What is our responsibility to our brothers or sisters? When Jesus was
here on earth, many of His parables focussed on how we treat one another.
With all of these examples it should be clear that we are responsible
not only for our own salvation and well being, but also for the other
members of our community. Jesus even told the disciples that it was a
grave sin to lead someone else into sin.
So how do we go about being good neighbors? The Church has given us some
guidelines for this:
the Corporal Works of Mercy:
1) feed the hungry
2) give drink to the thirsty
3) clothe the naked
4) shelter the homeless
5) visit the Imprisoned
6) care for the sick
7) bury the dead
and the Spiritual Works of Mercy:
1) admonish the sinner,
2) instruct the ignorant
3) counsel the doubtful ,
4) comfort the sorrowful,
5) bear wrongs patiently,
6) forgive all injuries,
7) pray for the living and the dead
How do we put these works of mercy into practice in our lives? Who
exactly is our neighbor? Does this mean we should all be working with
the homeless and hungry in out towns? I'm too young, how can I do these
things? These are all valid questions. You don't have to go looking for
people to care for, God will send people to you. Keep your eyes open.
It may be the person on your bus who is being bullied every day, and you
sit by and let it happen. It could be a close friend who has to make a
major moral decision, and is asking for your help. It could be someone
who is in trouble and needs you to help them figure out how to tell their
Perhaps tomorrow you could pack an extra sandwich, and offer to share it
with the boy who never brings any lunch. Invite your friend whose
parents are getting a divorce to spend time with your family. When
someone asks what you think they should do, and there is a morally right
choice, be firm in leading them to do the right thing. In short, be a
friend every day in every way that God presents you the opportunity to
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Saint of the Month: ST. JOHN BOSCO by Joseph Roalef
St. John Bosco is the patron saint of young people. He spent his
entire life trying to help young people get to heaven. His motto was "Give me souls, take away the rest". He knew that God made us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him, to get to heaven. If we don't do these things then we are defeating God's purpose for us. Heaven is our true home and Jesus has prepared a special place for each of us! What a good and loving Father God is! John Bosco loved God the Father very much because his own father died when he was only 2.
When he was 9 years old, he had his first of many visions from
heaven. John understood that to do good for so many young people he
needed to study and become a priest. But his brother Anthony, who wanted
John to become a farmer instead, threw John's religion books away and
belted him! It got to be so bad that John's mother had to send him away
from home so he could study without interference. While he was in school,
John started what he called "The Happy Club", because he wanted to teach
others to be happy living their Catholic faith.
John was ordained a priest when he was 26 and was then called Don
Bosco ("Don" means "Father" in Italian.) Now Don Bosco was finally able to dedicate
himself full time to the boys he had seen in his dream twenty years earlier. He went to look for them in the streets of Turin, Italy. He was shocked at what he
saw! Many teenagers were committing serious crimes and, when caught, were put in jail or sometimes even executed!
Don Bosco started a group of Priests, Brothers, Sisters, and lay
people to help him in his work for young people. They are now called the Salesians of Don Bosco, the name Salesian being derived from St. Francis De Sales.
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