Friday, 12 October 2012

The Spiritual & Corporal Works of Mercy

Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37

"Be merciful even as your Father is merciful."  
 Luke 6:36

"Jesus Christ taught that man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but that he is also called to "to practice mercy" towards others.  

'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' 
Matthew 5:7 

The Church sees in these words a call to action and she tries to practice mercy... Man attains to the merciful love of God, His Mercy, to the extent that he himself is interiorly transformed in the spirit of that love towards his neighbor."
John Paul II, Rich in Mercy, 14

 The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Treat others the way YOU would like to be treated... 


That's basically what the Works of Mercy are... 
showing your neighbor 
love, concern, compassion, forgiveness
as Christ has shown the same to you.

People are without enough groceries to feed their kids, sending them to school without breakfast... Give to the Food Bank... Feeding the hungry. Someone from your office is sick in the hospital, you go to visit...Visit the Sick. These are Corporal Works of Mercy...

You talked to a co-worker sharing your faith; a friend just lost his wife and you comfort him -- these are Spiritual Works of Mercy... Instructing the
uninformed, Comfort the sorrowful.

 "Scripture tells us that mercy is the condition for salvation. This is made clear in the Last Judgment (in Matthew 25), where those saved are saved simply if they performed what we later called the corporal works of mercy—feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead....It means entering into the entire “problem” or “chaos” of that person’s particular situation. In fact, that’s how I would define mercy: the willingness to enter into the chaos of others."
Excerpt from  The Works of Mercy: Heart of Catholic Identity
By: James F. Keenan, S.J.

"Too often works of mercy become a humanistic endeavor where one feels obligated to help out of peer pressure or because it's the thing to do and one will gain some temporal reward either financially or in praise and so they become philanthropic without realizing it doesn't amount to a hill of beans when push comes to shove except that the recipient may have gained temporal relief of some kind. Too many fail to realize for something to truly be a work of mercy and gain merit in Heaven it must be done out of love for our neighbor because of our love for God first and foremost. 

Without God as the Keystone of all we do, all is futile. That is why the corporal works of mercy cannot stand on their own without the spiritual works of mercy. Yet, both are vital in our cooperation with salvation for ourselves and our neighbor."


Feed the hungry.
Give drink to the thirsty.

Clothe the naked.

Shelter the homeless.

Comfort the imprisoned.


Visit the sick.



Bury the dead.

 Matthew 25:34-46 When Christ Returns...
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32 and all the nations will be assembled before him.

 And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

 37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’40  And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’  
41  Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  42  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’44 Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’45  He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’46  And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”                     
                                                                              Matthew 25:34-46


Admonish sinners

Instruct the uninformed.
Counsel the doubtful.

Comfort the sorrowful.
 Be patient with those in error.


 Forgive offenses.
Pray for the living and the dead.

Early Divine Mercy Image


taken from The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion, revised edition. Marian Press Stockbridge MA 01263