THE SEVEN 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”.
- Lend a listening ear to those going through a tough time.
1. Comfort The Sorrowing: When we comfort someone who is sorrowful, we console the heart of Jesus who suffered on the Cross. Be someone to lean on in times of hurt and sadness.
- Make a home cooked meal for a friend who is facing a difficult time.
- Write a letter or send a card to someone who is suffering.
- A few moments of your day may make a lifetime of difference to someone who is going through a difficult time.
- Offer words of encouragement to those who seem discouraged.
- Offer sympathy to those who are grieving.
2. Counsel The Doubtful: Everyone has moments of doubt in their faith journey. Nevertheless, we should always remember that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and turn to him along our way. Be a good listener, and let others know how good they are.
- Accompany a friend who is struggling with believing to join a parish group for a service or faith formation.
- Share a book you found useful in dealing with your friend’s faith concern.
- Take time to truly listen, share how you’ve experienced Jesus in your life.
- Pray with or for someone who is doubting and allow that person to experience Jesus with and through you.
- Refer them to a priest or deacon to help them to understand.
3. Instruct The Ignorant: This simply means to provide education for those who lack knowledge about the Christian faith. Share your advice and experience gently.
- Invite someone to go to Mass with you.
- Commit yourself to learning about the Catholic faith and share your understanding of the faith with others
- Read good literature and encourage others to do the same.
- Volunteer to help with religious education programs at your parish.
4. Admonishing The Sinner: Do not judge, but be supportive in helping others find their way and correct their mistakes. Together we can learn to walk more closely with Christ.
- When you correct someone, don’t be arrogant. We are all in need of God’s loving correction.
- Don’t judge but guide others towards the path of salvation.
- “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye” (Mt 7:5).
5. Forgive All Injuries: Forgiving others is difficult at times because we do not have God’s limitless mercy and compassion. But Jesus teaches us that we should forgive as God forgives, relying on him to help us show others the mercy of God.
- Let go of grudges.
- Pray for those who have wronged you and pray for the courage to forgive.
- Ask for forgiveness from others.
- Go out of your way to be positive with someone you are having a difficult time with.
- Participate in the sacrament of Penance.
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
6. Bear Wrongs Patiently: Do not be bitter about wrongs done against you. Place your hope in God so that you can endure the troubles of this world and face them with a compassionate spirit.
- Give others and yourself room to make mistakes.
- Frustrated with someone? Step away from the situation, take a few deep breaths, pray the Our Father asking God for patience.
- Work at being less critical of others.
- Overlook minor flaws and mistakes.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt.
- Assume that people who may have hurt you did so because they are enduring pain of their own.
- Pray for those who have wronged you.
7. Pray For The Living And 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.
- Request a mass intention for a friend or family member who is going through a tough time or for someone who has passed away.
- Keep your own book of prayer intentions, writing down the names of those who you are keeping in your prayers.
- Ask a friend or family member if there is anything you can pray for them about.
- Through prayer, entrust your cares and concerns for those around you to God.