Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy

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Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise. They are charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs. They respond to the basic needs of humanity as we journey together through this life.

The seven Corporal Works of Mercy are listed below. Here are some practical ways that families can incorporate the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy into their everyday lives year round.

Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the Hungry: Research, identify and contribute financially to organizations that serve the hungry. See: NH Food Bank.

Give Drink to the Thirsty: Take a neighbor who seems to thirst for a deeper faith to Mass.

Clothe the Naked: Make a game out of cleaning our closets and giving good clothing to St. Vincent de Paul.

Visit the Sick: If you learn of an ill neighbor who would like to receive the Eucharist, let your pastor know, and take some time to visit with them.

Shelter the Homeless: As a family, make a contribution to Catholic Relief Services by giving up a big dinner out.

Visit the Imprisoned: Box up some gently-used games or buy new ones for the families who go to the prisons. See: Dismas Home, Kairos Prison Ministry.

Bury the Dead: Include travels to family out of state not just for funerals, but to share family history.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Spiritual Works of Mercy have long been a part of the Christian tradition, appearing in the works of theologians and spiritual writers throughout history. Just as Jesus attended to the spiritual well-being of those he ministered to, these Spiritual Works of Mercy guide us to help our neighbor in their spiritual needs.

The seven Spiritual Works of Mercy are listed below. After each work of mercy there are also suggestions and words of advice for living them out in our daily lives. 

Admonish the Sinner: Take the time to correct one another privately.

Instruct the Ignorant: Set a good example for younger brothers and sisters.

Counsel the Doubtful: Encourage growing teens with compliments on character.

Comfort the Sorrowful: Give lots of hugs to discouraged children, parents and friends.

Bear Wrongs Patiently: Try to speak gentle words when you are frustrated.

Forgive All Injuries: Make a habit of saying “I’m sorry” sooner rather than later.

Pray for the Living and the Dead: Use mealtime grace to remember friends and family, both living and dead.