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The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy
1. Feed the hungry:
Provide food and extend God’s mercy to needy individuals by teaching them how to work or farm to solve their food problems.
2. Give drink to the thirsty:
Fight against water pollution; lead the spiritually thirsty to Christ; help the needy pay water bills.
3. Clothe the naked:
The naked are all those who are poor. Work to change your culture’s mentality about living above income by spending on credit; help end drug and alcohol dependency, gambling and other addictions or behavior that takes money from the poor; teach financial management; help people find jobs.
4. Shelter the homeless:
Rather than blaming the victim, get involved in building or restoring houses; work in half-way houses for the mentally ill; pay security deposits on apartments; help with utility bills.
5. Visit the sick:
The terminally ill would be less likely to desire euthanasia if we offer them the hope and love of Christ; the suffering need emotional support and faith in God; families under huge medical bills need help raising funds.
6. Ransom the captive:
Who is held prisoner by addiction, abuse, a dysfunctional family background, the occult, joblessness, a poor education, prejudice, poverty, hopelessness, sin, ignorance or misconceptions about God? Help them find a way out. Visit prison inmates.
7. Bury the dead:
Provide comfort for the bereaving; help the widow(er) with meals or activities; stay involved long after the funeral; be sensitive to the pain of loss.
The 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy:
1. Instruct the ignorant:
Teach the meaning of the Gospel and the spiritual implications of it for our lives; lift people from spiritual poverty; be an example of true Christian living.
2. Counsel the doubtful:
Society teaches doubt of God, skepticism, loss of confidence; live your faith in a way that witnesses to the reality of God.
3. Admonish the sinner:
Our world tries to remove “sin” from our vocabulary; in whatever you do, firmly but compassionately object to social and personal sin; take a stand against injustices.
4. Bear wrongs patiently:
Jesus is our example; bear wrongs with dignity, patience, and conviction that God stands by us, as a witness that suffering can lead to spiritual growth.
5. Forgive offenses:
Peace and justice don’t work if they’re only attempted through legislation. Promote inner conversion and outward forgiveness, first in your own life and then help others discover the same.
6. Comfort the afflicted:
Walk with people through their pain. We give them relief by our presence, our prayers, and our loving deeds.
7. Intercede for the needs of others:
Pray for loved ones, relatives, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, the souls in Purgatory, leaders, the nation, our world, etc. This motivates us in other ways of ministering.
© 1997 by Terry A. Modica
You can use this as a handout for RCIA or parish stewardship when teaching about ministries of mercy. The printer-read PDF includes a reflection Mercy: The Key to God’s Heart, download it from Catholic Digital Resources: catholicdr.com/faith-enrichment/mercy-the-key-to-gods-heart/
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