The Spiritual Works of Mercy
The Spiritual Works of Mercy have long been a part of our Catholic Tradition. We can help those in need physically through the Corporal Works of Mercy, but we can also help others spiritually with the Spiritual Works of Mercy. 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".
Here are the 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy:
- COUNSEL THE DOUBTFUL
Everybody has moments of doubt in their life. We can give counsel to the doubtful by reminding them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Here are a few examples of how we can counsel the doubtful:
- We can listen to counsel (advice & guidance) when we feel doubtful, that way we can become wise.
- If someone asks you for advice, let your response turn them toward Jesus. Let your response remind them of what is the Truth, which is God.
- Give counsel by being an example to others with your own life. Follow Christ as a disciple and others will see God’s love revealed in your actions.
- FORGIVE INJURIES
Because we are just human, we do not have limitless mercy and compassion. This is why forgiving others who have hurt us is difficult. But Jesus teaches that as Christians we should forgive as God forgives. We need to rely on God to forgive and love through us, since we cannot do it on our own. Here are some ways we can forgive injuries:
- Let go of grudges.
- Say sorry from your heart. When we say sorry we need to mean it by changing our lives.
- We can go to confession to be forgiven of our sins.
- INSTRUCT THE IGNORANT
Learn about our Catholic faith and be open to talking to others about our beliefs. We are learning about our Catholic faith right now through these lessons! There is always something more to learn about our faith. HEre are some ways we can instruct the ignorant:
- Volunteer to help teach others about the faith in our church. This can be by joining the leadership team for Youth Discipleship. This can also be through volunteering in VBS over the summer for elementary school students.
- Invite a friend or family member to go to mass or youth groups with you.
- BEARING WRONGS PATIENTLY
Do not be bitter about wrongs done against you. When someone is being frustrating, we can be patient with them rather than being angry. Here is a way we can bear wrongs patiently:
- Frustrated with someone? Step away from the situation, take a few deep breaths, pray the Our Father, asking God for patience
- Wait to confront the person frustrating you until you have called down and you can be patient
- PRAYING FOR THE LIVING & THE DEAD
Prayer is one of the most powerful ways we can support others. Joining together in prayer for the living and the dead entrusts us all into God's care. Here are ways we can pray for the living and the dead:
- When someone needs prayers say an Our Father prayer for them.
- When someone we know has died, we can say a rosary for them or offer a Mass for them.
- Keep a book or a list of prayer intentions. You can write the names of people you are keeping in your prayers.
- ADMONISH THE SINNER
To admonish means “to warn”. We can warn people in our life of the reality of sin and how damaging it is in our life. We can do this with love and gentleness to help each other correct our ways. Here are ways we can admonish the sinner:
- In humility, try to set a standard in our lives to not accept sin.
- Dont judge, but guide others toward the path of salvation.
- We should journey together to a deeper understanding of our shared faith.
- COMFORT THE SORROWFUL
Be open to listening and comforting those who are dealing with grief. Even if we aren't sure of the right words to say, our presence can make a big difference.
- Lend a listening ear to those going through a tough time
- Make a home cooked meal for a friend who is facing a difficult time
- A few moments of your day may make a lifetime of difference to someone who is going through a difficult time.