The third Corporal Work of Mercy is “Clothe the Naked.” In times past, there may have been many people who only possessed the clothes on their backs, and those might have been so threadbare and worn out that the person might have been virtually naked.
Although times have changed, and there are few people (in the western world at least) who are so desperately impoverished, this Corporal Work of Mercy is still important and applicable today: how many people today are impoverished, in need of better clothing, in need of appropriately warm clothing for the winter, etc.? Could we be more mindful of the material needs of our brothers and sisters?
Here are a few ideas that I have seen put into practice that exemplify the living of this Work of Mercy:
- Clean out the closet: do we have clothing that is in good condition that we seldom or never wear anymore? Could we give some or all of it to the poor, or so a group like the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which will give it to those in need?
- Suits and Dresses: I know a lady who, after her husband passed away, gave all of his business suits to a charity which helps people who are down and out to have really nice, well-fitting suits (or dresses for the ladies) for their job interviews. Not only is it giving a person some good clothing, but it might also be the difference that helps a jobless person to get a new job and begin their new life!
- Remember: it is not charity to give our trashy clothing, or dirty clothing, to the poor. Let’s give them clothing that is clean, in good condition, and befits their dignity as children of God.
Are there other ways of living out this beautiful Work of Mercy? Please feel free to share them with us in the comments below!