A GUIDED PRAYER BASED ON THE CORPORAL ACT OF MERCY "CLOTHE THE NAKED"
Preparation For Prayer
I pause from my daily routine and walk about or sit as I think about the clothes I am wearing. I appreciate how they keep me warm in cold weather and how they make me feel good about myself. I turn my thoughts to God and feel his loving gaze upon me. I thank him for all that I have, including the fact that I have the means to clothe myself when so many do not.
I pray for what I want, to see how I have helped to clothe the naked and to recognise the times when I have not done so. I pray that I recognise who the naked are in my life and ask God to show me what I can do for them.
Context Of Prayer
i. ‘What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same”.’ (Lk 3:10-11).
I reflect on what John the Baptist taught his followers. This teaching was further elaborated and radicalised by Jesus in the parable of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) who goes out of his way to clothe and help the man who was attacked and left to die by the roadside.
ii. The most obvious place to start reflecting on how I have clothed the naked is my wardrobe. I try to remember when was the last time I cleared out the clothes I didn’t need and donated them to charity. But should I only clothe the naked in this way? By giving away what is extra, what I want to get rid of anyway, perhaps to make space for even more, newer, more fashionable clothes?
iii. I reflect a bit more deeply on the contents of my wardrobe. Perhaps I can spend a little bit less on clothes and give the money I thus save to those institutions that need to clothe people so that they can buy what they really need instead of having to make do with other people’s cast-offs.
iv. I think of the labels on my clothes. Have I ever considered whether the people who make my clothes are being adequately compensated for their work? Do I make the effort to research the companies whose labels I buy, to make sure that my clothes haven’t been produced in sweatshops? Have I ever refused to buy something I really liked because it was not produced ethically? Or perhaps bought simpler, plainer clothes because they are fair trade items?
v. I continue reflecting on how I have clothed the naked, and thank God for those times when I consented to let His grace work through me. I also think about the times when I was blind to the naked around me, when I bought clothes I didn’t need or clothes that I knew were produced at the expense of others, for these times I ask God for forgiveness.
I speak to Jesus directly, as to a friend who is sitting next to me, sharing with Him all that I have thought about and about what I felt as I was reflecting. I pause and listen.
End Of Prayer
I finish by saying slowly and prayerfully the Our Father.