I’m sure this differs from individual to individual, but I seem to get a little lost on what good works God would like from me. Yesterday I tried to convince a friend to get involved in Contemplative Prayer and that this would result in a good work, but today I found out that my effort had no effect, and today I feel that my spirituality has dwindled to a blah spiritual state as if God was not pleased with my effort. Today my good work is simply to wrap my blah feeling up with sincerity and offer it to God as a righteous sacrifice. But I’m still unsure what my next effort should be. I’m a hermit and do not like being around people, and so helping the needy, like working in a soup kitchen, just would not work out I’m afraid. I already donate to the needy, but I feel that there are other good works that God would want from me, but I just do not know what they are.
Take care to note take emotions as a measure per se of the spiritual life…such is rather tempting for many.
They are good that we do (but always by not alone…)
So many ways one can live the life of love.
Here are some:
The seven corporal works of mercy:
- Feed the hungry.
- Give drink to the thirsty.
- Clothe the naked.
- Shelter the homeless.
- Visit the sick.
- Visit the imprisoned.
- Bury the dead.
The seven spiritual works of mercy:
- Counsel the doubtful.
- Instruct the ignorant.
- Admonish sinners.
- Comfort the afflicted.
- Forgive offenses.
- Bear wrongs patiently.
- Pray for the living and the dead.
And much can be lived in ordinary life…little things with love.
Thanks, and that’s basically what I try to do. As for the corporal works of mercy, I prefer to donate to a charity because they know better than me how to distribute money. And being below the poverty level based on my adjusted income, there is little more I can do.
I know this isn’t really your question, but I wanted to address this part:
The “work” is not the same as the result. If your intention was to help your friend grow in their spiritual life because it would benefit them, that is an act of love. Whether or not your friend chooses to take your advice does not necessarily mean it was not a good work, or that it was not beneficial in another way that you may not see.
-----PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens): A Story of Obedience-----
A man lived on a mountain, and prayed daily. One day, God spoke to him and told him to push against a very large boulder each day. The man did so faithfully for many weeks, and soon, the devil began to fill his mind with doubts. “Why are you trying so hard? It’s not as though this rock matters to anyone.” “You aren’t strong enough to make a difference.” And, worst of all, “You haven’t accomplished anything with your effort–look, the rock hasn’t moved even a fraction of an inch!”
The man grew weary and discouraged. Finally, he prayed to God, “Why? Why do you want me to push against this rock? I haven’t moved it at all!”
God answered, "I did not ask you to move the boulder. I asked you to push against it every day. You think it made no difference, but look not at the rock. Look instead at yourself. Look at the strength you have gained in your back and shoulders. Look at the muscles in your arms and legs. I asked you to push against the boulder not to change the boulder, but to strengthen you."
Sometimes, doing good is not about the results we get, but simply about loving, serving, and obeying God. What good we choose to do can change us and help us to grow in virtue, even if the results are not always what we expected or attempted to accomplish. It may not be about the finished product, but about the effort (and/or the journey). But we usually don’t know if that’s the case until after we’ve finished the task God asks of us. And sometimes even then, we don’t get to know what effect a particular action may have on others (during our life on Earth, at least).
Continue to do good, to love and serve God not because you want to change someone else, but because it is the right and loving thing to do.
Remember, too, that praying for others is a good work, and costs nothing but time.
I think that u were not pleased with the result. Any righteous work u do to give to glorify God is pleasing to Him. So don’t give up.
You gave time and knowledge to another to help them and God sees this, even if the result was not what u expected.
Praying for others is also a good work.
Yes this…I must have been typing at the same time…
- Pray for the living and the dead.
All good (works) comes from God. Do not fret. He knows what to do. You let Him do it through you. Being a hermit is no barrier. In fact it is better we do good works unseen than to make a display of it.
Look around your neighborhood. Some parts need help. Asked those in charge what they need and see what fits your abilities. In some charities it is not the lack of funds but the lack of suitable people to ensure the charity is used for maximum good. For example occasionally they need drivers to fetch the disabled from point A to B, some churches need to taxi the disabled to Church on Sunday and hiring full time staff is not economical. You don’t need to talk much if that is not your sort of things. Hospital visits and visits to Old Folks Home (that is what they call them over here) even if not much is said can be uplifting to those sorely in need of company, not talk. Visits to orphanages may be another thing etc. My sister does prison visits.
I agree the Good that we do is by Gods grace. To Gods glory not ours. If you have done it for yourself you have gotten your reward.
Your list contains the thing that I cannot do. I can exercise by going for a very brisk, two-mile walk, but when it come to scrubbing my filthy kitchen sink, I almost immediately break into a strong sweat and experience severe agitation and anxiety. Just to think about doing things involving people makes me feel the same way. But I’m able to lay silently in bed and pray for people. Indeed, I often feel spiritual ecstasy when I pray! Silent pray is my favorite time of day, and I believe it greatly benefits those I pray for. I must be left alone, in total solitude, to experience peace and calm. Why? I have not a clue, but I sense that a lot of hermit monks experience something similar.
I’m not a fan of being around a bunch of people either. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Hate going to parties but go because my wife enjoys them. Detest going to large dept. stores or malls but go to stop contracting into my own little self. We(I) need to explore the edges and move the boundaries of our(my)comfort zones. We(I)cannot grow if we(I)stay all nice and cozy and don’t make an effort to grow. A baby chick will not survive if it isn’t allowed to make its way out of the egg by itself. It needs to push, stretch, peck, etc… in order to become strong and survive. This is nature.
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
Anyone can reach enlightenment, sainthood, liberation, living in a cave much faster than those living and acting in the "world". We are social beings and need to be with others so as to help them. For me prayers are reminders of how to go about transforming myself and in this transformation I can better help others. To answer the thread title I believe good works are any works that help other beings. That help the earth.
Prayers, sacrifices, offering oneself daily for the conversion of sinnrers and the souls in purgatory. Writing letters or making phone calls to sad and lonely people.