Corporal and Spiritual works of Mercy

The Church teaches us to be merciful in various ways


He who loves God must love his brother also "(1 John 4:21). Tradition has summed up what this means in the works of mercy, which are the touchstone of our love. These works are usually called "works of love" because they are inspired by love. They are always particularly focused on the need for help of people in need. They grow from a compassionate disposition and are the concrete interpretation of love in the daily life of every human being.

Because man can suffer lack according to body and mind, can know physical and spiritual needs, one also makes a division into physical and spiritual works of mercy. Perhaps we do not like to hear about "physical" and "mental" works because they remind us of an outdated dichotomy. But both words are so ingrained in the tradition of the Church that we should not give them a new name.

The Corporal Works of Mercy

  1. To feed the hungry: "For I was hungry and you gave me to eat." Mt. 25:35

  2.  To give drink to the thirsty: "...I was thirsty and you gave me to drink..." Mt. 25:35

  3. To clothe the naked: "I was naked and you clothed me..." Mt. 25:36 

  4. To visit the imprisoned: "I was in prison and you came to me." Mt. 25:36

  5. To shelter the homeless: "...I was a stranger and you took me in..." Mt. 25:35

  6. To visit the sick: "...I was sick and you cared for me..." Mt. 25:36 

  7. To bury the dead: "Amen, I say to you, insofar as you did it for one of these least of my brothers, you did it for me." Mt. 25:40

 The Spiritual Works of Mercy

  1. To admonish the sinner: "...there will be more joy in Heaven at the repentance of one sinner than at ninety-nine of the righteous who had no need of repentance." Lk. 15:7

  2. To instruct the ignorant: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation." Mk. 16:15 

  3. To counsel the doubtful: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you...Let not your hearts be troubled..." Jn. 14:27 

  4. To comfort the sorrowful: "Come to me, all you grown weary and burdened, and I will refresh you." Mt. 11:28

  5. To bear wrongs patiently: "...Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you." Lk. 6:27-28

  6. To forgive all injuries: "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Mt. 6:12

  7.  To pray for the living and the dead: "Father, I desire that they, too, may be with me where I am..." Jn. 17:24