By Angela Delong, Volunteer - Morning Outreach Ministry

A Ministry of Mercy

Mercy is much more than forgiveness. It can be as simple as the smile or the kindness of a stranger.  Working in the Morning Outreach Ministry at Immaculate Conception gives our community many opportunities to experience mercy.  This ministry provides Hampton residents financial assistance with their utility payments when life throws them a curve.

Our volunteers for this ministry primarily work face to face with individuals who need financial assistance and for whom it is often very difficult to ask for help.  The appreciation we receive when we are able to help is very rewarding. To relieve their stress, if even for a moment, is not only mercy, but an instance of God’s grace.

Two Acts of Kindness

Serving in this ministry has allowed me to witness great acts of kindness.  Once, a gentleman was asking for help with his electric bill since he lost his job and was no longer was able to get assistance.  He was an older gentleman and overheard the story of another guest of our ministry who was not able to work because of caring for a sick child.  The older gentleman came back into the office after we assisted him and handed him $20.00 and said that he wished he could give him more, but it was all he had. 

In another case, we also have a very kind lady who offered on two separate occasions to pay the electric bill for someone in need. She preferred to remain anonymous and wanted no accolades. She did not want to meet those whom she helped. She was simply called by the Holy Spirit to pay their bills.  All she asks is that the person be very much in need and that their balance be more than the $75.00 that we are able to provide.  

Both of these people, to me, are the living expression of the compassion and love of God. The smile, tears (happy) and gratitude that the person receiving shows is so rewarding that it is a blessing for us.  Mercy for anyone is a gift of grace that is truly awesome!

In these challenging times, in this Year of Mercy, perhaps we ought to ask ourselves, this Lent, how we might follow the example of these two people, how might we extend love, consolation and mercy to those who need it most?

A Prayer

God of compassion and of love, help us to give in whatever way we can, in spite of our limitations and deficiencies, so that we can love and care for those who may need it most. Help us to be vessels of your mercy.