There is more to spirituality than walking in the woods or watching waves break on the shore.

At the invitation of Jesus, Peter, James and John “leave everything.”

In the parable of the prodigal son, we hear the young man say that he will “get up” and go to his father.

Even monks are very active in the quiet of their cloister. Trappists, for example, rise in the small hours of the morning to begin their day—a day during which they gather seven times to offer their prayers for the world.

What’s the lesson here?

  1. S. Lewis points out in his Reflections on the Psalms that the “goats” are cast out not because of sinful things they did, but for things they did NOT do.

And last month Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with the crowd in Saint Peter’s Square and told them, “In this Holy Year of Mercy we are called to comfort those who feel they are sinners, unworthy before the Lord, defeated by their mistakes, by speaking to them the very words of Jesus: ‘Do not be afraid. The Father’s mercy is greater than your sins!’”

Being disciples means placing our feet in the footsteps left by the Master. But we must move them, too.

Our prayer today: Lord, remind us always that our mercy must be shown in actions, not merely words.

(The image is The Last Judgment at Holy Family Church in Pathumthani, Thailand, modeled after the Sistine Chapel.)