Throughout history, the Catholic Church has emphasized the importance of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. In order to spread the Gospel here on earth, we must practice both.
While the corporal works of mercy identify how we can serve others’ physical needs, the spiritual works of mercy call us to help each other (and ourselves) spiritually.
According to the Baltimore Catechism, the seven spiritual works of mercy are:
- Admonish the sinner
- Instruct the ignorant
- Counsel the doubtful
- Comfort the sorrowful
- Bear wrongs patiently
- Forgive all injuries
- Pray for the living and the dead
As Catholics, we are called to be our brother’s keeper. We are obligated to help one another get to heaven by living out the spiritual works of mercy in ways that are rooted in love and mercy.
If you have a friend who is doubting their faith or doesn’t know a lot about Catholicism, the first step is to pray for them. You could also invite them to a Bible study or share a book that may have helped you in your spiritual life.
You can comfort the sorrowful by simply being present to those who are suffering, bringing someone a homemade meal, sending them a card, or listening to their struggles.
Forgiving others and bearing wrongs patiently are essential to our salvation. In the Our Father, we ask God to forgive us our sins against Him just as we forgive others’ sins against us. To keep our hearts open to His grace, we must let go of grudges against one another and avoid bitterness.
The Catholic Company is now selling prints featuring the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to keep in your bedroom, office, or living room. These prints serve as powerful reminders of how we are called to live on earth and reach salvation. You can get your own here.