We cannot escape the Lord’s words to us, and they will serve as the criteria upon which we will be judged: whether we have fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked, or spent time with the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-45).
A checklist for the spiritual works, which, like the others, are oriented to the needy:
Moreover, we will be asked
- if we have helped others to escape the doubt that causes them to fall into despair and which is often a source of loneliness;
- if we have helped to overcome the ignorance in which millions of people live, especially children deprived of the necessary means to free them from the bonds of poverty;
- if we have been close to the lonely and afflicted;
- if we have forgiven those who have offended us and have rejected all forms of anger and hate that lead to violence;
- if we have had the kind of patience God shows, who is so patient with us;
- and if we have commended our brothers and sisters to the Lord in prayer.
A reminder of the presence of Christ in these people on the fringes, as we were taught in Matthew 25:31ff:
In each of these “little ones,” Christ himself is present. His flesh becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled … to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us. Let us not forget the words of Saint John of the Cross: “as we prepare to leave this life, we will be judged on the basis of love.”[Words of Light and Love, 57]
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