If you're like me, when you hear the topic of Mark Shea's book The Work of Mercy: Being the Hands and Heart of Christ, you might wonder how it can be (a) enticing, (b) non-preachy, and maybe even (c) interesting.

The topic, you ask? The corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

My first thought, I'll admit, was that it can all be summed up in a poster. Who needs a whole book?

But then I realized something: I don't really know much about the works of mercy. Do I know the ways to apply them? Am I able to identify them in my life (not counting the ever-present "feeding the hungry" that goes on around here)? Can I share them with my children, my students, my friends, in a way that's engaging and real-life?

The answer before I read this book was a firm No, in some shape or another. The answer after, I hope, is closer to a Yes. The book has given me an interest and curiosity and desire for the works of mercy and an appreciation for how very integrated they should be in the Christian life.

If you see this book and think "boring" in any way, shape, or form, let me just set things straight: you are WRONG. Shea does what he does so well: he engages the reader, makes the topic into something you never thought about, and gives you ways to apply it to your faith in tangible ways.

It's not a long book, but it's deep in content and you'll find that it plants seeds of thought that you'll find flowering later. As you read it, you'll find it steeped in Church tradition and Scripture scholarship, in humorous anecdote and ongoing wisdom, in practical application and challenging calls to action.

Highly recommended and worth every minute you spend reading it.

Want to win a copy of The Work of Mercy?

Enter your name in the comments by Friday, May 25 at Midnight PST. One entry per person, please.

Thanks to Franciscan Media for generously donating three copies for this giveaway!

Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard