BY BRIANNA CHMIEL
Franciscan University students and members of the community gathered Sept. 26 in Christ the King Chapel to hear the Rev. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, speak about God’s mercy and how to show mercy to others. “God’s greatest attribute is his mercy!” said Apostoli.
Apostoli, a member and co-founder of the Community of Franciscan Friars of Renewal, is author of the book, “What Do We Do When Jesus is Hungry?” In his talk at the University, he explored the main theme of his book: how to practically live out the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
Apostoli encouraged members of the audience to live out the two greatest commandments that Christ gave in the Gospel: Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself.
“Brothers and Sisters, we have to express our love in concrete ways and this is where works of mercy come in,” Apostoli said. Performing works of mercy is a way to live out the two greatest commandments.
Apostoli spoke about several graces and blessings that the faithful receive when they perform works of mercy, the first being the opportunity to serve Jesus. He said, “We must change the world by serving Christ in one another.”
To illustrate this, he spoke about Mother Teresa, whom he knew personally. She had an impressive ability to see Jesus in the people whom she served in the slums, he said. Mother Theresa once told Apostoli, “God became man so we could love him through the poor.”
The second grace we receive through doing works of mercy Apostoli said is that “we satisfy the thirst of Jesus.” Jesus thirsts for our love and for souls.
Apostoli spoke about Our Lady of Fatima and how she encouraged the whole world to pray for the conversion of sinners. He strongly encouraged his audience to be faithful to the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima in order to console the hearts of Mary and Jesus and convert sinners.
“We will be transformed and we will transform others,” Apostoli said, encouraging his listeners to recognize the joy that is received by giving ourselves in prayer and works of mercy. This transformation is yet another grace that the works of mercy bring.
Apostoli shared several stories of people who are known for practicing mercy, including St. Francis, St. Vincent de Paul, Mother Teresa and the Pope Francis.
Students who attended the event enjoyed listening to his stories. Daniel Trexler and Karina Diaz said they enjoyed hearing his personal stories about Mother Teresa the most.
Student Hillary Galetka commented, “My favorite part was when he spoke about the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts and spreading devotion to them.”
Apostoli ended his talk by encouraging those who minister through works of mercy to, “just give it to Jesus.” If we give all our efforts to Jesus we can affect the world, he said. A boy in the Gospel gave Jesus five loaves and two fish and Jesus multiplied them to feed a whole crowd. If we trust in Jesus, small works of mercy truly will make a difference.