THE SEVEN CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY
The Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ (Mt 40) In the midst of our modern world and busy lives, we are to look beyond our own busyness and pay attention to those around us who are in need.
1. Feed The Hungry: There are many people in this world who go without food. Share what you have with those who need it down the street or around the world.
- Support and volunteer at food pantries, soup kitchens and agencies that feed the hungry.
- Educate yourself about world hunger.
- Avoid wasting food.
- Make a meal for someone you know is less fortunate.
- Voluntary fasting. The money saved by abstaining from food could be given as alms to a charitable organization.
2. Give Drink To The Thirsty: Many of our brothers and sisters do not have access to clean water and suffer from the lack of this basic necessity. Share your joy and hope with those whose lives are dry and lonely.
- Support clean water policies.
- Do not waste water.
- Donate water to charitable organizations.
- Skip a fancy coffee drink or other beverage and donate that money to the poor instead.
3.Clothe The Naked: Stand up for those who are most weak and vulnerable.
- Go through your drawers and closets and find good-condition clothes, shoes and house items to donate to such organizations as St. Vincent de Paul.
- Volunteer your time and talents to a charitable organization.
- Make a monetary donation to a charitable organization.
4. Visit The Imprisoned: People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. No matter what someone has done, they deserve the opportunity to hear the Word of God and find the Truth of the message of Christ. Help prisoners and those confined by fear, sadness or illness.
- Pray for inmates and their families.
- Support programs that provide holiday gifts for prisoners and their families.
- Support efforts that seek the abolition of the death penalty.
- Support job-training and educational programs designed to rehabilitate prisoners.
- Support and participate in ministries to those who are incarcerated.
- Give encouragement to those who are sad, fearful or ill.
5. Shelter The Homeless: There are many circumstances that could lead to someone becoming a person without a home. Homelessness is a very real and often unseen form of suffering in our community. Reach out to the unloved and unpopular; make everyone welcome in your heart.
- Throw your coin change into a jar and periodically donate it to charity.
- Make time or money to organizations that build homes for those who need shelter.
- Volunteer time at a homeless shelter.
- Donate money, blankets or other items to a homeless shelter or place of charity.
- Help neighbors care for their homes and do repairs.
6. Bury The Dead: Burial of the dead acknowledges the life and dignity of the human person who is now deceased. Funerals give us the opportunity to grieve and show others support during difficult times. Remember with love and respect those who are separated by distance or death.
- Send a card to someone who has recently lost a loved one.
- Be faithful about attending wakes/visitation.
- Spend time with widows and widowers.
- Offer daily prayers for those with terminal illnesses and for those who have died.
- Send Mass cards to families of those who have died.
7. Visit the sick: Those who are sick are often forgotten or avoided. In spite of their illness, these individuals still have much to offer to those who take the time to visit and comfort them. Be there for those who need you.
- Volunteer at a nursing home/hospital; there are many different ways to help such as reading to them, helping to feed them, bingo, conversation, etc.
- Take time to visit with an elderly neighbor.
- Offer to assist caregivers of chronically sick family members periodically so they can rest, complete personal chores or enjoy a relaxing break.
- Make a meal for a family in your parish who has a sick loved one.
- Give blood.
- Take time to call, send a card or an e-mail to someone who is sick or homebound.
- Volunteer to drive patients to medical appointments.